Most traffic accidents are caused by failure to yield right of way. Damage to vehicles is usually inevitable, and injuries or even death can also result. Right-of-way laws are in place for your protection and that of others who share the roadways with you. They are based in common sense, and it is simply common sense to learn and obey them.
Summary of Nebraska right-of-way laws
The right-of-way laws in Nebraska are summarized as follows:
If you are approaching an uncontrolled intersection and another vehicle arrives at roughly the same time, you must yield to traffic on the right.
- You must also yield right of way if your failure to do so could result in an accident.
Yield the right of way to the vehicle that stops first.
If you are in doubt, give the right of way to the vehicle on your right.
Slow down and yield to traffic that is on the left, and already in the circle.
Yield to cyclists and pedestrians in crosswalks.
When emergency vehicles are in the roundabout, pull over and let them pass. If you are not already in the roundabout, pull over until the emergency vehicle has passed. If you are in the roundabout, proceed to your exit and then pull over.
Emergency vehicles have the right of way on any roadway when their sirens are sounding and lights are flashing.
If you are already in an intersection, do not stop – proceed through the intersection and then pull over.
You must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Visually impaired pedestrians, as identified by the use of a guide dog or white cane, always have the right of way.
Even if a pedestrian is violating the law (for example, crossing against the light or jaywalking), you must still give them the right of way. This is simply because a pedestrian is far more vulnerable than a motorist.
- Regardless of what the traffic signals or signs may indicate, you must always follow the instructions of a police officer that is directing traffic.
Common misconceptions about Nebraska right-of-way laws
Common courtesy would dictate that you should yield right of way to a funeral procession, and in many states, courtesy is all that compels you to do so. In Nebraska, though, you are actually bound by law to give right of way to a funeral procession – they have the same rights as emergency vehicles, and are only required to yield to emergency vehicles.
Penalties for failure to yield
If you fail to yield right of way in accordance with the law, your violation will result in two points being assessed to your driver’s license. If an injury results from your failure to yield, the penalty will be four points. You will also be subjected to a fine of $25 and a surcharge of $48.
For more information, refer to the Nebraska Driver’s Manual, Section 4, pages 46-50.