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Right-of-way laws keep traffic moving smoothly in areas where motorists and other motorists, or motorists and pedestrians, cannot cross safely at the same time. They regulate who has to yield, and who has to wait, and also work to help determine who is at fault in the event of an accident. The laws are in place for your protection, so make sure you know what the laws are, and make sure that you adhere to them.
Summary of right-of-way laws in Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s right-of-way laws can be summarized as follows:
Persons to whom you must always yield
There are many crowded areas in Oklahoma’s cities, and that means that children may be playing in the streets. It is your responsibility to be exceptionally cautious when children are present. They do not know the rules of the road, so it is up to you.
You have to yield right of way to blind persons. You can identify them by the presence of a guide dog or the use of a cane.
Pedestrians crossing the roadway, using a marked or unmarked crosswalk, must be given the right of way.
Yielding to motor vehicles
When turning left, you must yield to oncoming traffic, and proceed only when you can do so without interfering with approaching traffic.
If you are crossing a highway where there are no signals or signs, yield to traffic in the highway and enter only when you can do so safely.
At an intersection where a yield sign is posted, you must slow down and be prepared to yield to other vehicles and to pedestrians.
When leaving a private road, driveway, alley or parking lot to enter a public road, you must stop and yield the right of way to traffic that is already in the road.
You must always give the right of way to emergency vehicles when you hear sirens and see flashing lights.
At a four-way stop, the vehicle that gets there first is given the right of way. If it cannot reasonably be determined who got there first, then the right of way should be given to the vehicle that is on the right.
Common misconceptions about right-of-way laws in Oklahoma
Right-of-way laws are based on courtesy and common sense. Unfortunately, not all drivers are sensible and courteous. Some drivers think that they are entitled to the right of way, and they will take it regardless of the consequences. The fact is that you are not, under the law, entitled to right of way. You only get it when another driver yields it to you. And in fact, most collisions can be avoided if drivers are careful, and willing to yield right of way.
Penalties for failure to yield
Oklahoma operates on a point system, and if you fail to yield right of way when required to do so, two demerit points will be added to your driver’s license. Fines are not uniform – they vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They do tend to be on the high side, though. Just as an example, in Oklahoma City, failure to yield will cost you $182.
To learn more, consult the Oklahoma Driver's Manual, Section 2, Chapter 6, pages 1-3.
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