If you expect to maintain a good driving record throughout your lifetime as a driver, one of the most important concepts to understand is the “Right-of-Way.” Right-of-way rules are a series of generally accepted driving practices that prevent accidents by prioritizing how drivers should react in certain traffic conditions. When combined with common courtesy, observing right-of-way rules makes life easier for both drivers and pedestrians. If you are a new driver, it’s especially important to familiarize yourself with right-of-way rules to ensure that you don’t end up compromising your driving record with a ticket.
It’s a 24/7 Commitment
Respecting the right of way isn’t about cherry-picking what traffic rules to follow. Observing right of way rules involves complying with traffic laws in general. All motorists have a responsibility to foster safety through responsible driving at all times. The moment a driver ignores the right of way rules, lives are put at risk and property could end up damaged needlessly. In fact, research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the majority of traffic injuries and collisions in California are caused by right of way violations.
Here are three principles to always remember in order to guarantee that you diligently adhere to the right of way rules:
- Pedestrians Come First – The California Vehicle Code defines pedestrians as people who either travel on foot or use basic conveyances such as skateboards or wheelchairs to transport themselves. No matter what the circumstances are, always stop or yield for pedestrians in traffic. Even if a crosswalk isn’t marked by painted lines, or if a pedestrian is jaywalking, do not compete with them or obstruct their movements with your vehicle. The worst thing a driver can do is strike a pedestrian with a vehicle.
- Obey the Speed Limit – Posted speed limits exist for a reason. They prevent drivers from causing hazardous conditions through over-speeding. Whenever you’re driving, it’s important never to drive at dangerous speeds, which can mean either driving too fast or too slowly. Adhere to the “Basic Speed Law” which stipulates that you must never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. Pay attention to the number of vehicles on the road, whether the road is wet, and whether visibility is obscured by bad weather.
- Scan Your Environment – No matter how urgent your journey might be, don’t lose sight of situational awareness behind the wheel. Driving requires you to be perceptive and preemptive. This means if you can sense or predict a collision will happen, use your discretion to either prevent or avoid it. Pay attention to all the vehicles and pedestrians surrounding you. Keep an eye out for road conditions and don’t tailgate other drivers.
Being a responsible driver requires maturity. Don’t treat being behind the wheel like a joyride or a videogame. Lives are literally at stake whenever you drive so you must always do everything possible to respect the right of way and keep yourself safe. Yield to pedestrians, drive at safe speeds and scan your environment constantly. For more information on how Adriana’s Insurance Services can help you stay safe on the road, visit any of our offices or give us a call at 1-800-639-7654. We got you covered!