The Guide to Right-of-Way Laws in South Carolina

According to the South Carolina Driver’s Manual, “right of way” identifies who must yield and wait at intersections or anywhere else that it would be impossible for more than one vehicle or combination of pedestrians and vehicles to proceed simultaneously. These laws are predicated on both courtesy and common sense, and they are in place to keep traffic flowing smoothly and also to prevent damage to vehicles and injuries to motorists and pedestrians.

Summary of South Carolina’s right-of-way laws

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

  • If you are approaching an intersection, and there are no traffic signs or signals, you must yield to the driver that is already in the intersection.

  • If two vehicles are about to enter an intersection and it is unclear who should be given the right of way, the driver of the vehicle to the left must give right of way to the motorist on the right.

  • If you are in an intersection and attempting to turn left, you must give the right of way to vehicles already in the intersection, as well as approaching vehicles.

  • If you are stopped at a light, and are planning to turn left on the green light, you must give right of way to opposing traffic and also to pedestrians.

  • Right turns on red lights are permitted, unless there is a sign specifying that you may not do so. You must stop, and then enter cautiously, yielding to traffic already in the intersection and to pedestrians.

  • You must always yield to emergency vehicles (police cars, ambulances and fire engines) when they are signaling their approach by means of sirens and/or flashing lights. Pull over as soon as you can safely do so. If you are in an intersection, clear it before pulling over.

  • If a pedestrian has lawfully entered an intersection, but has not had sufficient time to cross, you must yield the right of way to the pedestrian.

  • Even if a pedestrian is not in the intersection legally, you must still yield the right of way. This is because a pedestrian is considerably more vulnerable than a motorist.

  • School children entering or departing a school bus always have the right of way.

Common misconceptions about South Carolina’s right-of-way laws

The term “right of way” actually does not mean that you have the right to proceed. The law does not state who has the right of way – only who does not. You are not entitled to demand the right of way, and if you insist on taking it in defiance of your own safety and that of others, you can face charges.

Penalties for failure to yield

In South Carolina, if you fail to yield right of way to a pedestrian or vehicle, you will receive four demerit points attached to your driver license. Fines are not mandated state-wide, and will vary from one jurisdiction to another.

For further information, refer to the South Carolina Driver’s Manual, pages 87-88.


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 Colored Curb Zones in South Carolina
South South Carolina parking laws: understanding the basics When parking in South Carolina, you need to make sure you understand the rules and laws that are in place. Knowing these will not only help to keep you from getting fines...
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...
The Guide to Right-of-Way Laws in Alabama
Alabama Alabama defines “right-of-way” as the right to move across or onto a roadway before other vehicles or people. Right-of-way laws are in place to facilitate smooth, safe traffic flow, and violating them is one of the most common causes...

Related questions

Yielding at intersection.

If there is no stop signs or yield signs for either of you then it is common to yield to the person to the right if both of you got to the intersection at the same time. What you experienced...

Active body control light on and hydraulic fluid is leaking.

Hello, thanks for the question, I'm sorry I can't help you with the price but I can tell you a little about what has to be done to make sure we have your problem fixed. First your car would be...

My steering feels heavy after driving my Suzuki for a while.

Hi there. Heavy steering can be caused by a number of things. I would need to know the model and year of the vehicle to be able to help you with this further. In general, if the steering is fine...

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