what does yield the right of way mean
Car Accidents

What ‘Yield The Right Of Way’ Means On Texas Roads

Yielding the right of way is a phrase every driver needs to be proficient with. When a driver does not properly yield, it can lead to dangerous situations on the road and potential car accidents. Knowing when and how to properly yield the right of way is crucial for practicing safe and defensive driving. Understanding these yield rules and being a courteous driver can help make Texas roads safer for everyone.

What Does “Yield The Right of Away” Mean?

The term “yield” means to give way to other traffic when merging or at intersections where certain vehicles have the right of way. Vehicles with the right of way can proceed without stopping, while vehicles that must yield are required by law to slow down or stop to allow the other vehicle to pass first.

Some common yield sign messages that you should be aware of include:

  • Yield – Slow down and be cautious about needing to stop abruptly if necessary to let traffic pass when merging.
  • Yield to Pedestrians – Come to a complete stop if necessary to allow people in crosswalks to cross safely.
  • Yield to Bikes – Bicyclists have the right of way, so drivers must slow down and allow them to pass before proceeding.

Who Must Yield The Right of Way?

There are certain driving situations in Texas where one vehicle must yield the right of way to another:

Merging Onto Roads

When merging onto a highway, freeway, or crossing over another road, vehicles joining the flow of traffic must yield to vehicles already on the main road. The merging driver needs to speed up, slow down, or stop to find a safe gap before pulling onto the roadway.

Intersections With Yield Signs

Vehicles approaching intersections with yield signs must slow down and yield the right of way to any oncoming traffic before carefully pulling forward. Checking for crossing pedestrians and bicyclists is also crucial.

Uncontrolled Intersections

At intersections without signs or signals, the driver on the left must yield right of way to the vehicle on the right. Both vehicles must use proper turning procedures.

Emergency Vehicles

All drivers are required by law to yield their right of way to police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles approaching with lights and sirens activated. Drivers must safely pull off the road and stop until the emergency vehicle passes.


In Texas, you must yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing at intersections, crosswalks, school zones, and anywhere that requires stopping for people walking. Drivers must allow pedestrians to fully cross before proceeding.

Common Scenarios Where Yielding Applies

There are many everyday driving scenarios where drivers need to understand when and how you should properly yield the right of way:

Turning Left at Intersections

When turning left at intersections, a driver must yield to traffic going straight or turning right. Left-turning vehicles should only proceed when there is a safe gap in the oncoming traffic flow.

Entering Roads from Driveways and Alleys

Vehicles entering any public road from a private driveway, alley, or parking lot must stop fully and yield to vehicles and pedestrians already using the roadway.

Passing Stopped School Buses

Motorists traveling in both directions must come to a complete stop when a school bus is stopped with red lights flashing and stop signs extended. Drivers must yield until the bus moves again.

Changing Lanes

Drivers changing lanes on multi-lane roads must yield to vehicles already traveling in the lane they are moving into. Proper blind spot checks and signaling are required before changing lanes.


At roundabouts, vehicles entering the circle must yield to any circulating traffic. Drivers in the roundabout have the right of way to continue moving without stopping.

Consequences of Failing to Yield in Texas

As required by Texas traffic laws, failing to yield the right of way properly can lead to monetary fines, points added to your license, and increased insurance costs. Serious accidents and injuries may occur due to drivers failing to yield.

Some consequences for failing to yield include:

  • A fine of up to $500-$4,000, depending on the severity of injuries involved
  • Points added to your driving record
  • Increased insurance premiums for three years
  • Liability for injuries or damages if an accident occurs
  • A traffic violation on your driving record

Common Types of Car Accidents from Failing to Yield

When drivers fail to correctly yield the right of way, it often leads directly to serious collisions. Some common types of auto accidents that occur due to right-of-way violations include:

Side-impact collisions

When two vehicles collide at intersections or merges because one driver failed to yield, side impacts can result and these crashes often lead to severe injuries.

Rear-end crashes

These frequently occur when a vehicle stops or slows down to yield, but the following car does not brake in time and crashes into the rear of the yielding vehicle.

Head-on collisions

Head-on collisions can happen when a driver improperly passes on a two-lane road or turns left without yielding to oncoming traffic. These types of crashes tend to be the deadliest.

Pedestrian accidents

Failing to yield to people in crosswalks is a common cause of pedestrians getting struck by vehicles when crossing roads. This often leads to serious injuries or fatalities.

Bicyclist crashes

Collisions with bikes frequently occur when a driver does not slow down and yield properly when passing or sharing the road. Distracted driving is also often a result of bicycle crashes.

Rollover crashes

These types of crashes can occur when a driver swerves quickly to avoid a collision after failing to yield the right of way, causing the vehicle to roll over. On other occasions, a defect in the vehicle’s construction can cause it to roll over.

Contact John Flood for Help with a Car Accident Claim

If you have been injured in an auto accident because another driver failed to yield, you may qualify for compensation for your injuries. You deserve to recoup lost wages, medical bills, and other damages. Speak to a Corpus Christi car accident lawyer to understand all your legal options. Schedule a free consultation with John Flood today.