Right-of-way laws in Mississippi are comprised of important rules that define who is going to be able to proceed through intersections and other areas where vehicles and pedestrians come into contact, and who will have to wait. These rules exist to make sure that traffic moves smoothly and safely.
You may think that you “own” the right of way. You do not. You only get the right of way when it is yielded to you by another driver. If you think you should take the right of way, think again – because it is not worth having an accident.
Summary of Mississippi's right-of-way laws
The right-of-way laws in Mississippi are not complex. In fact, they are based on common sense. Here is a summary.
Drive cautiously as you cross an intersections, and never assume that anyone else in the intersection knows what you are planning. Proceed with caution.
Remember that most accidents occur at intersections.
Yield to traffic that is already in the intersection.
If you and another motorist are approaching at the same time, you have the right of way if you are on the right. If failing to yield will cause an accident, let the other motorist go.
At a through street, yield the right of way to the motorist who is stopped and waiting.
When turning left, yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.
- Pedestrians always have the right of way, even if they are in the wrong.
Emergency vehicles must always be given the right of way, if they are flashing their lights and sounding their sirens.
You can easily identify a blind person. They will be walking with a cane, or accompanied by a guide dog. You have to exercise special care here – it goes beyond just allowing the right of way even if lights or signals might suggest that the person is crossing illegally. Blind people always have the right of way, regardless of what else is going on.
Common misconceptions about right-of-way laws in Mississippi
In Mississippi, as is the case in many other states, motorists often believe that in certain scenarios, they might have the right of way automatically. The fact is, no one ever has the right of way. Right of way is not a “right.” It is something that is given to you by another motorist in order to keep traffic moving smoothly. If you decide to “take” the right of way, you could actually end up being charged with reckless driving.
Penalties for failure to yield
In Mississippi, there is no points system, so if you fail to yield the right of way, you will not have demerits attached to your driver’s license. That being said, the fines in Mississippi for moving violations can be very steep. They vary from county to county, but can reach in the hundreds of dollars.
For more information, refer to the Mississippi Driver's Manual, pages 29-32.