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Yielding the right of way

Published:Sunday | August 8, 2021 | 12:06 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

Do we understand the expression ‘yielding the right of way’? Many of us drivers are always in a hurry to get nowhere, while others drive in a manner to save lives, time, money and peace of mind. “I travel within the speed limit, I am always checking my speed limit. I stay a car length from the person in front of me. If any idiot wants to overtake, they can go ahead as I am in no competition. I stay far from any loaded trucks. I occasionally glance through my rear-view mirror and yield the right of way,” says Paulette Henry, educator and accident-free driver.

Yielding, according to Norris Christian, an accredited driver instructor, means allowing other traffic to go ahead of you. “To yield, you must time your movement so that you will not interfere with the safe, legal movement of others,” says Christian. He highlighted that the right of way is the privilege of having immediate use of the road. “However, you may have to yield the right of way to be safe,” he adds.

Here are a few pointers to consider in yield situations:

Point 1: Traffic laws state who must yield the right of way, not who has it.

Point 2: Traffic controls do not explicitly name who shall yield the right of way.

Point 3: If you force others with the right of way to slow down or stop, you have not yielded.

Point 4: The right of way is given to you by others. Never assume the other driver will always yield to you.

Point 5: Even though the other person should have yielded to you, you can be held responsible for a collision if your actions contributed to it.

Point 6: A safe action is to yield to the right of way even though the other driver is required to yield to you. Being delayed a few seconds is better and safer than a collision.

Point 7: Caution, courtesy and common sense should govern your actions, but do not expect them in return. However, it’s good when it happens.

Point 8: Failure to yield to the right of way is one of the most frequent violations in fatal crashes.

Eugene Green, drive instructor, made the point that the general rule is to give way to traffic coming from the right. In addition, the vehicles already in the roundabout have the right of way.

However, there are some roundabouts which have ‘Give Way’ signs erected on some of the approaches to the intersection. It is advised, when approaching such a sign, to slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing condition or stop if necessary. Then, yield the right of way, give way to any vehicular traffic in the intersection or any approaching from another roadway which might constitute an immediate hazard.