Right of Way Laws in Illinois

When you’re driving a heavy machine on high-speed roads, it’s critical that everyone knows when they have the right of way and when they do not. Fortunately, the Illinois Vehicle Code has very detailed right-of-way laws that leave little room for confusion.

Giving the Right of Way To Other Cars (And Pedestrians)

Every driver knows that a yield sign means they must yield the right of way. However, many situations aren’t labeled quite so clearly. 

These are common circumstances where you must yield the right of way to other drivers or pedestrians:

  • While waiting to turn right at a red light
  • When going into an intersection with a flashing arrow (instead of a regular light)
  • Making any left-hand turn
  • When stopped at a flashing red light or a stop sign
  • In parking lots (drivers have to yield to pedestrians)

It can be difficult to remember who has the right of way at a four-way stop. If you drive up to a four-way intersection, the first vehicle to arrive at the intersection and come to a stop is the first one to go. After that, or if two cars arrive and stop at the same time, the car on the right is allowed to go.

Pedestrian-Specific Right of Way Laws

In nearly every situation, cars are required to yield to pedestrians. 

For instance, you must always yield when a pedestrian:

  • Is on the driver’s side in an unmarked crosswalk and there aren’t traffic signals
  • Is in a crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked
  • Steps onto the road 
  • Has the “walk” signal

You must also yield to pedestrians when you are turning at any kind of intersection. 

While right-of-way laws always matter, they are especially important here. If a pedestrian is involved in a car accident, they can suffer devastating injuries.

Giving the Right of Way To Emergency Vehicles

You probably already know that you should give the right of way to fire trucks, ambulances, and similar vehicles. However, each state has its own specific laws covering exactly how you should yield the right of way.

In Illinois, if you’re approaching an emergency vehicle that’s stationary but has flashing signals, such as a stopped police car with its lights flashing, you must move a lane away from the stopped vehicle when possible. If that’s not possible, the law essentially requires you to use common sense, demanding that you slow down and proceed with caution.

The rules are a little more complex if you’re being approached by an emergency vehicle with lights flashing or sirens sounding. If this happens, you’re legally obligated to move to the side to let the vehicle pass you. 

This doesn’t always mean you need to come to a stop, however. If you’re on a multi-lane road, you can just move out of the vehicle’s lane of travel. However, if you’re on a narrow road with one lane going each way, you’ll likely have to pull onto the shoulder.

Notably, emergency vehicles have another special rule at intersections. If you’re stopped at an intersection and an emergency vehicle with sirens or lights approaches, you must stay stopped until the emergency vehicle passes through the intersection.

Know the Right-of-Way Laws Before You Drive

Following right-of-way laws doesn’t guarantee you won’t get in an accident. However, if you know the laws and follow them, you can dramatically decrease your risk of a crash. As a result, you’ll be able to drive with confidence and avoid confusion at four-way stops.

Contact the Chicago Car Accident Law Firm of Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Today

For more information, please contact the experienced Chicago car accident lawyers at Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys today. We offer free consultations.

We proudly serve Cook County, Will County, Kendall County, and its surrounding areas:

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Chicago Office
10 S La Salle St STE 1230, Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 726-1616

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(815) 726-1616