Georgia Right-of-Way Law: What You Need to Understand


When an accident happens on Atlanta roadways or at an intersection, law enforcement officers ask one common question “who had the right-of-way?” The right-of-way law is crucial to keep drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists safe. When drivers fail to obey this law, they create situations that result in car accidents.

Some drivers are unaware of this law, causing them to breach it. However, ignorance of the law has never been an acceptable excuse. A breach of the right-of-way rules results in civil penalties. In addition, the erring driver will also face personal injury claims if an accident happens.

This article discusses the right-of-way law Atlanta drivers must adhere to. In addition, it covers the rights of victims injured in accidents caused by failure to yield the way. If you or anyone you know gets involved in a right-of-way accident, our Atlanta car accident lawyers at The Weinstein Firm can help you get maximum compensation. Contact us today.

Georgia Right-of-Way Laws

Section 40-6-70 to 40-6-77 of the 2020 Georgia Code Title 40 — Motor Vehicles and Traffic Chapter 6 — Uniform Rules of the Road Article 4 — Right-of-Way is the primary law drivers must follow to avoid failure to yield offenses and accidents. Below is a summary of the law.

  • When driving towards an intersection and approaching a stop sign, drivers must stop and give the right-of-way to a vehicle or pedestrian on foot who is already there.
  • If there is no stop sign or signal, drivers must yield the right-of-way to the person who arrived at the intersection first. If two cars arrive simultaneously, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.
  • At a four-way stop, pedestrians have the right-of-way. Vehicles should move through the four-way stop on a “first come, first serve” basis. If two cars arrive simultaneously, the one on the right has the right-of-way.
  • A driver approaching a yield sign must slow down and be ready to stop for oncoming traffic.
  • When merging lanes, drivers must yield to cars already in the traffic lane they are merging with.
  • When crossing a highway or entering a roadway from a secondary road, private road, or alley, drivers must yield to cars and pedestrians already on the main road.
  • Drivers must always yield to police, fire, EMS, or other emergency vehicles when their sirens and lights are activated. Drivers should slow down and move to the side of the road. If the motorist is at an intersection, they should keep driving until they are out of the intersection and pull over.
  • Drivers must always yield to highway maintenance vehicles and construction workers in a work zone.
  • Motorists may turn right on a red light unless a sign prohibits the action. In addition, drivers must yield to oncoming traffic before making a turn.
  • Drivers must yield to school buses and not pass a school bus with a flashing red light or an activated stop sign.

Who Is at Fault in a Right-of-Way Accident?

Fault is always an issue in any car accident case. In a right-of-way accident, the at-fault driver would be the one who failed to yield. For example, a driver who goes through a red light would be responsible for any ensuing collision. However, the other driver would share fault if they performed an act that aggravated the accident.

Note that proving fault in a right-of-way accident is not straightforward. You need witness statements and video footage of the crash scene. Where these two are unavailable, you may need to wait for the accident reconstruction expert to conclude their investigation.

What Are My Rights as a Right-of-Way Accident Victim in Atlanta?

Following an accident you did not cause, Georgia law allows you to request compensation from the party responsible. You can get economic and non-economic damages for accident injuries and other property losses. This covers:

  • Medical bills (past, current, and future)
  • Loss of income and loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Vehicle repair
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Cost of physical therapy

In a personal injury lawsuit, you may get punitive damages if you ask the court for it and if you can prove egregious conduct by the at-fault driver. Your Atlanta car accident lawyer will help you determine if you can request punitive damages.

Book a Free Consultation With Expert Atlanta Auto Crash Lawyers

Every car accident victim deserves compensation from the fault party. To ensure this happens, you need experienced car accident lawyers in Atlanta. At The Weinstein Firm, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need to win your case. So contact us today for a free case review.

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