The Guide to Right-of-Way Laws in Montana

Right-of-way laws exist for the protection of motorists and pedestrians. There are no winners in collisions between vehicles, or between vehicles and pedestrians. So, to reduce the likelihood of property damage, injuries and even death, Montana has common sense right-of-way regulations in place for situations where there are no traffic signals or signs.

Summary of Montana’s right-of-way laws

The right-of-way laws in Montana can be summarized as follows:

Pedestrians

  • Pedestrians are bound by right-of-way laws, as are motorists.

  • Common sense suggests that in a car/pedestrian conflict, the pedestrian will be the loser. Therefore, you are required by law to yield right of way to a pedestrian, even if the pedestrian is in violation of the right-of-way laws.

  • Pedestrians who are carrying a white cane, or accompanied by a guide dog, always have the legal right of way.

  • Pedestrians must cross at intersections and at crosswalks.

Intersections

  • When entering or exiting an alley, driveway or parking lot, or crossing a sidewalk, you must yield right of way to pedestrians.

  • When entering a roundabout, you must yield to traffic that is already in the circle.

  • At unmarked intersections, you must yield to traffic approaching from the right.

  • At four-way stops, the driver who reaches the intersection first proceeds first.

  • If you are approaching a road from an alley, driveway, or roadside, you must yield to traffic that is already in the roadway.

  • You may not block intersections – even if the light is in your favor, if your entering the intersection could cause traffic coming from your right or left to be blocked if the light changes, you may not enter.

  • A yield sign indicates that you must yield the right of way to all other traffic.

Crosswalks

  • Pedestrians are not permitted to leave the curb and simply walk into the path of an approaching vehicle, but you still must always yield the right of way to pedestrians.

  • You may turn right at a crosswalk provided that the pedestrian is already in the opposite portion of the road.

  • You may not pass a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk.

Emergency vehicles

  • Emergency vehicles that are sounding their sirens or air horns, and flashing blue or red lights always have the right of way.

  • If you are already in an intersection when an emergency vehicle approaches, do not stop – continue through the intersection, and then pull over.

Funeral processions

  • Under Montana law, funeral processions have the right of way over all other vehicles except for emergency vehicles.

  • You may not enter an intersection if a funeral procession is proceeding, even if you have the green light.

Common misconceptions about Montana right-of-way laws

You may think you have the right of way under certain conditions. In fact, no one has the right of way until they are given it by another motorist. Additionally, there is nothing in the law that exempts you from the duty to drive safely.

Penalties for failure to yield

In Montana, failure to yield will result in two demerit points being assigned to your driver’s license. Fines vary from location to location, but they tend to be on the high side - $186 in Helena, for example.

For more information, consult the Montana Driver Manual, Chapter 4, pages 37-40.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

The Guide to Right-of-Way Laws in Ohio
Nearly Nearly a third of traffic accidents occur because one motorist fails to yield right of way to another. The cost is astronomical, in terms of damage to vehicles and injuries to motorists and pedestrians. In the worst case scenario,...
The Guide to Right-of-Way Laws in Oregon
Thirty-three Thirty-three percent of traffic accidents occur because people fail to yield right of way when they should. Common sense would seem to suggest certain courses of action when it comes to determining who goes first, but often it does...
How to Buy a Personalized License Plate in Montana
A A personalized license plate (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-find-out-which-license-plates-are-available-in-your-state-by-brady-klopfer) is an excellent way to add a little bit of unique flair to your vehicle. With a personalized plate, you can say something about yourself through your car and show off some of your...

Related questions

it screams when I push the gas petal to accelerate the rpm rev high causing it to act like its losing power going up hill
This sounds like the transmission is slipping. I recommend having a transmission mechanic diagnose the slipping by checking transmission pressures, checking for trouble codes (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/what-is-the-on-board-diagnostics-obd-system), or checking for any solenoids that are not letting it shift.
How long can I drive on a worn wheel bearing
Hi Melody. Thanks for contacting us tonight. Anytime a wheel bearing has been diagnosed as being loose or faulty, it's important to have it replaced as soon as possible. A worn wheel bearing does not have enough lubrication to keep...
03 and the temperature gauge in my Dash has been disconnected and I need to know exactly how to reconnect it
The instructions depend on where it was disconnected, that is in the engine compartment versus behind the dash. If in the engine compartment, you can look at the driver side near the water outlet on the engine. There is an...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com