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Failure to Yield Right-of Way

There are several different sections of the California Vehicle Code that punish failure to yield the right-of-way violations.

Right-of-Way in Intersection

Vehicle Code Section 21451 says that before a driver lawfully goes through a green light, or turns on a green arrow, they must give the right-of-way to other vehicles that are already in the intersection.  For example, if other vehicles have pulled into the intersection to make a left turn you should wait until they have safely completed the turn before beginning to drive, even if you have the green light.  

Four Way Stop Sign Intersection

Vehicle Code Section 21800 applies to the following intersections: 1) no traffic signal, stop sign, or "yield" the right-of-way sign; 2) a stop sign in each of the four directions (one for each street, in each direction); and 3) stoplights that are not working (e.g. power failure or blinking red lights in each direction).  In each of these situations, whoever gets to the intersection first has the right-of-way.  This means they get to proceed first.  If two cars get to the intersection at the exact same time, the driver on the other's RIGHT has the right-of-way.  If you do not have the lawful right-of-way and you drive through the intersection first, you can receive a ticket for violating this section

Left Turn or U-Turn

Vehicle Code Section 21801(a) applies to drivers making a left turn or U-turn.  When you are making a left turn or U-turn (not in a designated left-turn lane controlled by a signal), you must yield to oncoming traffic coming straight ahead from the opposite direction, allowing those vehicles to pass, before making your left turn.  Your left turn must be made with "reasonable safety."  If you cut in front of the oncoming vehicle, or make any turn that the officer may deem to be unsafe, you will be cited for violating this section.  This is a pretty subjective standard and what constitutes "reasonable safety" can be a matter for the traffic court judge to determine.

Stop Signs and Yield Signs

Vehicle Code Sections 21802 and 21803 provide that the driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign or right-of-way sign shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have approached from another highway, or which are approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.  A driver will usually only get cited for this if the other vehicle, which has the right-of-way, is forced to slow down to avoid rear-ending you or hitting another vehicle. 


Vehicle Code Section 21950(a) requires a driver to yield to pedestrians crossing the road at both a marked crosswalk and at an "unmarked crosswalk."  An unmarked crosswalk exists wherever two streets cross each other at an intersection.  Imaginary crosswalks connecting sidewalks on opposite sides of the street are deemed to exist.  If you are driving and fail to stop to allow the pedestrian to cross the street, you will be cited for a violation of Vehicle Code Section 21950(a).

Failure to Yield Violations Count as One Point

All of the infractions described on this page related to failure to yield the right-of-way are moving violations and count as one point on your driving record.  Do not go to Court alone and fight the ticket.  Call our Los Angeles Traffic Ticket law firm today at (877) 667-1205 or fill out our CONTACT form.

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