No one has the right-of-way anymore?

I took a defensive driving course online (to get a discount on insurance). The course tells me that no one has the right-of-way anymore, that the law tells you who has to yield the right-of-way. How can you yield it if you don’t have it? Isn’t this a distinction without a difference?

I don’t really understand the question or the context the right-of-way material was presented in the course. It doesn’t sound like they covered right-of-way particularly well. But I guess the insurance company didn’t ask you how good the course was, did they?

Pedestrians have the right of way.Motorists are always the one to blame if you hit one.

They were probably trying to say that even if you have the right of way, you are still obligated to prevent a collision if it is in your power to do so with someone who does not have the right of way.
Right of ways are conditional, not absolute. If you have a green light, you may enter the intersection only if it is safe to do so.

Trains always have the right of way, but even they must attempt to stop if there is a stalled car on the tracks. Besides, hitting a car can do a lot of damage to a locomotive.


Much like boating safety laws speak of “stand on” (maintain course and speed) and “give way”…vessels, with the caveat that both are responsible for taking any needed action to avoid a collision.

Yet more evidence… those that can’t do, teach.
Sounds like your instructor has difficulty articulating his thoughts. :grin:

In NH, and I feel confident saying this is common, when two motorists stop at a 4-way-stop intersection or an unmarked intersection at the same time, the car on the right has the right of way. Since by definition all other intersections are marked, follow the signs/lights.

In rotaries, it varies. Generally here in the U.S. the vehicle already in the rotary has the right of way.

Except in California. In CA, whoever has the biggest firearm has the right of way.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Saw “LA Story” recently. :rofl:


I always understood that he who has the biggest wheel’s had the right of way.

Not absolute.

Depends on what state you live in. Traffic laws come from the state.

I think in most states if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk they have the right of way. But a pedestrian crossing n the middle of the street does NOT have the right of way.

I agree that that’s the most sensible interpretation, but they hit on the phrase 3 times when I think talking about the substance would be more useful.

This is the National Safety Council’s on-line course: there is no instructor.

This isn’t really a new concept, at least in my state.
Even though I took my driving exam over 50 years ago, I still recall wording in the NJ Drivers’ Manual to the effect of…Right of way is something that no driver “has”, but is frequently called upon to yield.


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My grandfather used to say, you can be right, and you can be dead right. But I think that the course you took is trying to say that regardless of your right of way, you have a “fiduciary responsibility to mitigate the damages”. That is a universal rule that all courts abide by.

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It’s only been 47 years for me and I’ve forgotten. Even though the course says that no one has the right-of-way, it says that some drivers are supposed to give it up (their example, the driver who arrives second and a 4-way-stop intersection), a contradiction.

Yield signs are rare in MD these days. Much of the time, drivers are supposed to act like adults and not try to pass just one more car while merging together. Some of the time it even works. Well, most of the time it does.

i have a 2 lane roundabout across from our highschool. 2 lanes into school but only 1 lane out. i guess they want to control the volume somehow? the inside lane can go left around the roundabout or straight/right into school. a bit fluky at first till you realize the lane markings. i take the inside lane and go left about 1 block to my office

I think they are trying to say just because a light turns green you have to first check for cross traffic, ie red light runners before proceeding, but I really think if there are enough witnesses you will prevail, but I see enough red light runners to be careful rather than thinking about winning damages in court.

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A neighbor couple died when they turned left on green and some inattentive speeder killed them.

If you get killed it really doesn’t matter who has the right of way does it???

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Florida, too,

Too many aren’t adults… regardless of their chronological age. :grin:

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