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How to approach uncontrolled intersections in Washington

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Car Accidents, Intersection Accidents

Intersections merge two or more roads, attracting vehicle activity from multiple directions. These simultaneous and unpredictable movements increase the odds of fatal crashes. In Washington, there were 172 intersection-related deaths in 2022, the highest since 2013.

There are two common types of intersections: controlled and uncontrolled. Controlled intersections marked with road signs and traffic signals can still result in tragic accidents, let alone the uncontrolled kind that does not have clear controls or traffic lights, often found in areas with low traffic volume.

Thus, it is imperative that drivers know how to navigate around uncontrolled intersections to prevent catastrophic consequences.

Following right-of-way rules

Right-of-way rules prioritize vehicles at a specific position to proceed over other cars. Especially in uncontrolled intersections, drivers must observe the following right-of-way rules despite the absence of signs and signals:

  • The first vehicle to be at the intersection has the right-of-way.
  • If the first vehicle that arrived will make a left turn, they must yield to any oncoming traffic or pedestrian.
  • If two vehicles arrive at the intersection at almost the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right.

Although following these laws is crucial, right-of-way rules are not absolute. Under the state’s pure comparative rule, the court may still grant partial liability to the injured party. This judgment applies if proven that they did not exercise reasonable caution, such as slowing down, and looking out for speeding cars or crossing pedestrians as they drew near the intersection.

Yielding can save lives

Respecting each other’s space on the road by yielding can mean all the difference. However, circumstances surrounding every car accident vary. Knowing right-of-way laws does not guarantee an undisputed claim. Thus, when a contentious case ensues, victims and their loved ones can consult their experienced Washington counsel to protect their rights by helping them investigate, gather evidence and recover compensation.