In Florida Who Has the Right-Of-Way?

February 23, 2024
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Knowing the right-of-way laws in Florida can help you avoid accidents on the road and help you establish liability in car accident claims and lawsuits. In this blog, we provide an overview of the right-of-way laws in Florida. To learn more about these laws or if you have a specific case, consult a car accident lawyer from our firm. 

Right of Way in Florida 

The Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law governs the traffic rules on the roadways. These laws do not provide a specific answer to who has the right of way in Florida. However, there is an overarching law that requires all road users — including motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists — to do everything they can to avoid an accident. The right of way is clearer in specific traffic situations. 

Stop Signs 

Road users must yield the right of way at stop signs. At four-way stops, the first vehicle to stop should be the first to move forward. If the vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, then the driver on the left should yield to the driver on the right. 

Roundabouts 

Roundabouts are also common in Florida as they allow for smooth traffic flow. The right of way at roundabouts in Florida favors the vehicle that enters the roundabout first. If the roundabout is empty, then drivers can proceed without stopping, but they should reduce their speed and not attempt to change lanes. 

Open Intersections 

Open intersections don’t have signs or signals to regulate traffic, making it difficult to assess who has the right of way. Road users in Florida are required to exercise caution and yield to motorists or pedestrians who are already present in the intersection. 

Pedestrians

Because pedestrians can suffer serious injuries in car accidents, motorists must be extra careful with pedestrians on the road. Pedestrians also have the responsibility to only cross the road at designed spots such as crosswalks, where they have the right of way. All motorists should stop at crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross. 

Bicyclists 

Florida law requires bicyclists to utilize designated bicycle lanes whenever available. This helps ensure bicyclists remain safe and do not disrupt traffic flow. If a bicyclist chooses to ride on sidewalks, they must exercise caution to keep pedestrians safe. 

Emergency Vehicles 

Emergency vehicles should be given the right of way regardless of the type of road. These vehicles play a crucial role in providing emergency assistance and should be given the right of way whenever possible. 

The Role of Right of Way in Car Accident Cases

Florida follows a modified comparative negligence system for personal injury cases. This means determining fault plays a key in car accident cases. Individuals are barred from recovering damages if they are more than 50% at fault for the accident.

If a driver did not follow right-of-way laws, they could be at fault. If their fault is more than 50%, they could lose their right to get compensatory damages. However, having the right of way doesn’t guarantee a driver isn’t liable for a car accident. For example, if they followed the right of way law but were reckless in their driving, they could still be barred from receiving compensation if their total fault is determined to be more than 50%. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to file an auto insurance claim or initiate legal action against another party, contact us at Lewis & Castagliola, P.A. Whether you need to consult with a drunk driving accident lawyer or a hit-and-run attorney, we have experience in all types of car accident cases.