Right-of-Way Laws in Arizona

If you consider the daily traffic in busy population centers like Phoenix, you might be surprised to learn that only about 11,000 crashes resulting in injuries happen within the city, according to 2021 data. That said, according to statistics, the overall number of accidents in Phoenix that year was over 40,000.

What keeps Arizona highways and streets from experiencing more wrecks and crashes are traffic laws that govern the movement of vehicles like cars, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians, and motorcycles. These laws cover traffic lights and signals, traffic signs, and right-of-way practices. Such rules are beneficial to safe transportation and can help ensure accident-free roads for all drivers. 

However, drivers who do not follow these laws are more likely to cause one of the state’s thousands of crashes, particularly when it comes to right-of-way rules. Here’s what you need to know about right-of-way laws in Arizona.

Traffic Lights, Traffic Signs, and Right-of-Way Laws: Which Prevails?

Whenever a traffic signal or a traffic sign is present on the road, that light or sign controls the movement of traffic. In this situation, these signals serve to designate who has the right of way. For example, at an intersection controlled by a traffic light, traffic with a green light has the legal right to proceed while other traffic must wait.

Less obvious right-of-way laws come into play when traffic is merging or intersecting, and no light or sign dictates who gets to travel ahead of whom. Unlike traffic lights and signs that are visibly posted, all Arizona drivers are presumed to know the right-of-way laws and are expected to follow them when appropriate.

Arizona Right-of-Way Laws Explained

Right-of-way laws apply at intersections and merge points without signs or traffic lights. Traffic with the right of way can proceed while all other traffic must yield. These laws require the following:

Merging Traffic Yields to Other Traffic

When two roads merge into a single road or two lanes of traffic merge into one, merging traffic must yield the right of way to other traffic. Cars and trucks merging with other traffic must slow down or stop and only proceed when it is safe.

Traffic Turning Left Yields to Opposing Traffic

Suppose that you want to turn left and cross opposing lanes of traffic to either enter a parking lot or turn onto a different street. In this situation, any traffic coming toward you in opposing lanes of travel has the right of way. You can turn left once all opposing traffic has cleared, and you know that you can turn safely. 

Traffic Yields Differently at Certain Intersections

If you are approaching a “T” intersection on the road that comes to an end, you must yield the right of way to traffic on the other road unless there are stop signs present. If all directions of travel have stop signs, then the driver who arrives at the intersection first has the right of way over other traffic.

Similarly, if you are approaching an uncontrolled four-way intersection, you are required to yield the right of way to all other vehicles that arrived at the intersection before you. But sometimes, you may arrive at the same time as other traffic. If this happens, the vehicle to your right has the right of way, and you must wait before proceeding.

Right-of-Way Laws Keep Drivers Safe

Although right-of-way rules may seem tedious, keep in mind that these laws serve to keep you and others on the road safe. By remaining observant and avoiding proceeding on your way when it is not safe to do so, you can ensure Arizona roads are safer for everyone.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer for Help With Your Claim

If you were injured in an accident in Phoenix, AZ, and need legal help, contact our attorneys at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review with a car accident lawyer today.

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers

1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014

(602) 595-5559

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
400 Gold Avenue SW Suite 650
Albuquerque, NM 87102

(505) 594-3621

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
5151 E Broadway Blvd. Suite 1600
Tucson, AZ 85711
(520) 492-0926