When you are in traffic, and there are no signals or signs in place to regulate traffic flow, you need to use common sense, and also know the laws regarding right of way. Right-of-way laws in the State of Delaware are based in common sense, and are in place to help reduce the likelihood of accidents that can cause damage to vehicles and harm to people.
Right of way simply means who goes first in any given traffic situation, in order to prevent pedestrians and motorists from being injured. Legally, you do not have right of way – you are simply in situations where common sense and the law dictates that you will yield it to another.
Delaware right-of-way summary
In Delaware, the right-of-way laws can be summarized as follows:
You must always do everything possible to avoid striking a pedestrian.
You cannot drive on the sidewalk unless you are crossing it, and then you must yield to pedestrians.
Any pedestrian who is visually impaired, and identified by walking with a white cane or a guide dog, has an absolute right of way.
If you are turning left, you have to yield to motorists who are going straight.
If you are entering a rotary, you must yield to traffic already in the circle. If you are at an intersection that has no signs or signals, you must yield to traffic on the right.
If you are entering a road from an alley or driveway, or from the roadside, vehicles that are already in the road should be given right of way.
If you are entering an intersection, you should make sure that traffic ahead of you can get through before proceeding.
Emergency vehicles always have the right of way, so if you see a police car, a fire engine, or an ambulance behind you or approaching an intersection that you are about to enter, you must pull over and allow them to pass. If you are already in the intersection, keep going and then pull over. Do not move until the emergency vehicle has passed, or you are told by a police officer, firefighter, or ambulance attendant that you may proceed.
Common misconceptions about Delaware’s right-of-way laws
Delaware is a bit different from other states. If you think that having points assessed to your driver’s license are etched in stone until a period of time has passed, you are mistaken. In most states, points stay on your license at the same level they were originally assigned. In Delaware, though, they actually depreciate. For instance, a four-point penalty for failure to yield will drop to three, then two, then one, and finally disappear entirely in two years. In most states, you keep the points assigned for the full two years.
Penalties for failure to yield
In Delaware, failure to yield will give you four points, but as previously stated, the points will depreciate assuming that you do not re-offend. Most traffic violations in Delaware also carry a fine of at least $112.50.
For more information, refer to the Delaware Driver Manual, pages 88 and 95.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as The Guide to Right-of-Way Laws in Delaware and was authored by Valerie Johnston.