We recently posted a picture of three cars stopped at a 3-way intersection and asked our followers which order they should proceed through the intersection. Below, we explain the answer to our question.
Right of Way Rules
Right-of-way rules are supposed to help drivers safely navigate intersections that aren’t being directed by a traffic light. Additionally, drivers, bicycle riders, electric scooter riders, and pedestrians must also follow right-of-way rules.
The California DMV handbook designates which vehicle or pedestrian has the right-of-way under various traffic conditions. At standard 4-way intersection, right-of-way first goes to any vehicles or pedestrians currently entering the intersection. Following that, right-of-way is given to the vehicle on your right.
However, 3-way intersections follow a different set of right-of-way rules.
The picture we posted was of a 3-way intersection, also called a T-intersection. As you can see in the image, there are no stops signs, only yield signs. If Car #1 wants to make a left turn onto a through road and Car #3 wants to make a left turn off the through road while Car #2 is traveling in the opposite direction, which order should the cars move through the intersection?
When it comes to 3-way intersections vehicles on the through road have the right-of-way, meaning the vehicle approaching from another road must yield to traffic. This means that Car #3 must wait for Car #2 to pass by before turning. Meanwhile, Car #1 must wait for Car #3 to complete its turn before it can proceed to turn left on the through road.
In the same way, a pedestrian or bicyclist traveling on the through road also has the right-of-way.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident at a 3-Way Intersection?
Understanding California right-of-way guidelines may help you prove negligence in a car accident injury claim.
A driver that failed to yield right-of-way and attempted to cross through-traffic at a 3-way intersection may be considered negligent or even reckless. It could also be considered negligent for a driver to pull out in front of on-coming traffic at a 3-way intersection without leaving enough space and causing a rear-end collision.