Right-of-way is an integral part of Georgia law. As outlined in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-70 through § 40-6-77, these laws ensure roadways are safe for all who use them.
Violation of these laws can lead to accidents with subsequent fines and even jail time for the at-fault driver. Therefore, knowing the ins and outs of these codes could protect your legal rights after an accident.
What Is Right of Way in Georgia?
In Georgia, as with most states, right of way refers to which driver has the lawful authority to proceed first at a stoplight, intersection, or similar road junction.
For example, if two vehicles enter an intersection at the same time, Georgia Law states the driver on the left should yield the right of way to the driver on the right. Of course, there are exceptions based on the exact circumstances.
If a violation of right of way causes severe injury, the at-fault driver could face a penalty, per O.C.G.A. § 40-6-77. The penalties are as follows:
- No less than a $250 fine for a first-time offender
- Up to $500 and no more than $1000 fine for a second-time offender within 5-years. The at-fault driver can also face up to one year in jail.
Right-of-way violations are often used as evidence in automotive accident insurance claims or civil lawsuits. If another driver violated the right-of-way laws in Georgia, and that caused your collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.
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Right of Way at Standard Intersections in Georgia
Georgia mandates that the driver on the right typically has the right-of-way at intersections. This means that if two vehicles arrive at a stop sign at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right.
There are some caveats to this rule, though:
- If a driver is coming off a highway that terminates in an intersection, they must yield to drivers on both sides. They don’t have right-of-way until there’s a clear opening in traffic.
- If two drivers arrive at a stoplight that is deactivated or in dark mode, they must treat said stoplight like a stop sign.
Yielding on Left Side Turns
Left side turns can be confusing and lead to collisions. In most cases, you need to cross multiple lanes of traffic when executing a left-side turn.
During a left side turn, you never have the right-of-way. You must always yield to drivers coming from the opposite direction.
How Do Yield Signs Impact Right-of-Way in Georgia?
If you approach an intersection with a yield sign, any vehicle ahead of you has the right-of-way.
When approaching a yield sign, Georgia law mandates that you:
- Slow or down or stop at the yield, depending on driving conditions.
- Closely examine the intersection and look both ways.
If a driver ignores yield sign laws and causes an accident, this violation will be considered “prima facie” evidence. Prima facie translates roughly to “at first glance” in Latin. If prima facie evidence exists, there is usually grounds for legal action.
If another driver did not follow Georgia Law on right of way and caused your accident with injuries, you may be eligible to file an insurance claim for your damages.
Stop Sign Violations
Stop signs have roughly the same regulations as yield signs. However, unlike yield signs, you must stop at stop signs unless directed otherwise by a police officer.
This stop must occur at a clearly designated stop sign or before entering the crosswalk at an intersection. If neither of these indicators exists, you must stop before the intersection in a position that provides a clear view of the roadway ahead of you.
You Must Yield to Emergency or Enforcement Vehicles
If an emergency vehicle or federal, state, or municipal enforcement vehicle is using audible or visual signs, they have the right of way. If a police car or fire truck is on the roadway with their sirens on, you must yield to them by safely pulling over to the right side of the roadway.
Georgia law has a provision for this rule per O.C.G.A. § 40-6-6. The drivers of emergency vehicles cannot act in a manner that endangers other drivers. They must “drive with due regard for the safety of all persons” on the roadway.
Funeral processions are subject to their own set of right of way laws. These vehicles have the right of way in most instances. However they must still yield to emergency and enforcement vehicles.
If you attempt to pass a funeral procession on a two-way highway, interrupt a funeral procession, or try to join a funeral procession, you can be found guilty of a misdemeanor.
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Call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for Help With Your Right of Way Accident Case
Violation of these laws can cause serious accidents. If you’ve suffered at the hands of a negligent driver, our car accident attorneys can help.
Since our founding, our team has obtained millions of dollars in settlement money for our clients. We want to empower Georgians with our award-winning team.
Call our firm for a free case consultation to get started today.