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Explaining Virginia’s Right-Of-Way Rules

As your lawyer, I do everything in my power to get you results.- Jim Hurley

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Explaining Virginia’s Right-Of-Way Rules

All vehicles must follow Virginia’s right-of-way rules to safely cross intersections.  Right-of-way helps you decide who goes first at an intersection.  Right-of-way rules, together with courtesy and common sense, help to promote traffic safety.

Vehicles often come into conflict with other vehicles and pedestrians because their intended courses of travel intersect, and thus interfere with each other’s routes.  The general principle that establishes who has the right to go first is called “right of way.”

Virginia's right-of-way rules

Virginia's right-of-way rules are governed by signs

Virginia’s Right-of-Way Rules at a Stop Sign

At an intersection controlled by a stop sign, slow down and prepare to stop at a clearly marked stop line.  If there is no clearly marked stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.

In the absence of a marked crosswalk, stop at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where you have a clear view of any approaching vehicles on the intersecting roadway.  Before proceeding through the intersection, you must yield the right-of-way to any cars approaching from either direction.

Virginia’s Right-of-Way Rules at a Yield Sign.

At an intersection where a “Yield Right-of-Way” sign is posted, you must slow down to a speed that’s reasonable for the existing conditions. After slowing, you must yield the right-of-way to vehicles approaching or entering the intersection.

If you must stop at the intersection, stop at a clearly marked stop line or yield line. If there is no stop line or yield line, stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection where you have a clear view of any approaching vehicles on the intersecting roadway and yield the right-of-way to cars approaching from either direction.

Virginia’s Right-of-Way Rules at an Uncontrolled Intersection

At an intersection without a stop sign or yield sign, slow down and prepare to stop. Generally, right-of-way is determined by order of arrival at the intersection. Always yield to the car that arrives first.

While you are not required to come to a complete stop, you must yield to vehicles already in the intersection. If you and another car arrive at the intersection at the same time, yield if the car is on your right.

Virginia law does not give the right-of-way to a particular driver.  It only states who must yield.  When a driver is legally required to yield the right-of-way but fails to do so, other drivers are required to stop or yield as necessary for safety. So, if another driver does not yield to you when he or she should forget it. Let the other driver go first.

Many crashes in Virginia are caused by a failure to yield. If you were injured by a driver who failed to yield, please call our Virginia car wreck injury lawyers at (757) 455-0077

Griff O'Hanlon



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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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