In Utah, right-of-way laws are in place to tell you who has the right of way when streets come together and vehicles and pedestrians are in close proximity to one another. These laws are essential in order to protect you and others with whom you share the road from harm. In Utah, 18% of traffic fatalities are due to failure to yield the right of way. Accordingly, it is vital that you understand and obey the right-of-way laws.
Summary of Utah’s right-of-way laws
The right-of-way laws in Utah can be summarized as follows:
You must yield the right of way to any driver who arrives at an intersection first.
When turning left, you must yield to drivers in the opposing lane.
If you are at a four-way stop, and you and another driver arrive at nearly the same time, you must yield the right of way to the motorist on the right.
If you are approaching a public road from a private road or driveway, you must yield to traffic in the public road.
If you are approaching an interstate highway from an entrance ramp, you must yield right of way to drivers already on the highway.
If you are approaching an intersection, and there are cyclists or pedestrians already in the intersection, you must give them the right of way.
- You must always give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked.
- When entering a roundabout, you must yield to traffic that is already in the roundabout.
You must be alert to mid-block crosswalks and give pedestrians the right of way.
Even if a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, you must still yield right of way.
Blind pedestrians, identified by the use of a cane or a guide dog, always have the legal right of way.
When making a legal turn on a red light, you must yield to pedestrians.
In the interests of safety, even if a pedestrian is crossing illegally, you must still give them the right of way.
- If an emergency vehicle, such as a police car, ambulance or fire truck, approaches and is flashing its lights or sounding a warning device, then you must yield the right of way to that vehicle.
Common misconceptions about Utah right-of-way laws
If you believe that Utah law gives you the right of way under certain conditions, you are wrong. The law does not give right of way, it only identifies who must yield it. If another motorist fails to give you the right of way when legally required to do so, you are still prohibited from proceeding if your doing so could cause an accident.
Penalties for failure to yield
Utah operates on a points system, and failure to yield will result in 60 demerit points being attached to your license. If you accumulate 200 points in a 3-year period, your license could be suspended for 3 months to a year, and you could be required to take a defensive driving course. The fine for failure to yield is $120.
For more information, refer to the Utah Driver License Handbook, Sections 7-1, 7-7, 11-1, 11-5 and 8-1.