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The failure to yield is a serious problem on the roads and highways in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country. If you have experienced an accident or have been ticketed due to your failure to yield, you should consider seeking proper legal assistance. There are also some things you need to know about yielding that can keep you out of trouble in the first place.
Understanding the Right of Way
Pennsylvania law states clearly that when two vehicles approach at an intersection, and when the intersecting roads are not controlled by stop lights or signage, the driver on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right. Vehicles making left turns must yield to oncoming traffic, unless a “left turn” green light is available at the intersection. Motorists entering a highway must yield to vehicles proceeding on that road. This rule also applies to major roads that have limited access. Vehicles proceeding in traffic circles have the right of way over vehicles entering these areas.
Motorists should always slow to a speed that is reasonable under the circumstances when they approach yield signs. It may be necessary to come to a full stop when coming to a yield sign at an intersection due to cross traffic or pedestrians. The stop should be made at a point before a marked crosswalk and where the driver can easily see both ways. The driver at a yield sign is of course required to give the right of way to vehicles on the opposing road.
Watching for Pedestrians
A significant number of those killed or seriously injured in traffic accidents are pedestrians, who have the right of way when crossing at intersections. Pedestrians who are totally or partially blind, as indicated by the fact that they are either carrying a white cane or are accompanied by a guide dogs, must always be given the right of way by motorists. Additional steps may have to be taken in such cases, with drivers stopping a safe distance until the pedestrian has cleared the area.
Special Circumstances Requiring the Yielding of the Road
Emergency vehicles, whether they be police cars, fire trucks or ambulances, must always be given the right of way when they are responding with their sirens and lights activated. Drivers must clear a path by coming to a halt as close as possible to the edge of the road, keeping in mind that one emergency vehicle could be accompanied by others.
The Penalties for Violating the Rules
Traffic violations in Pennsylvania are considered points. If you are cited for failing to yield at an intersection, three points will be added to your record. Three points will also be added if you are cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic at an intersection. If a failure to yield results in a traffic collision, you will be presumed guilty of causing the accident unless the facts can be refuted. The failure to yield to a blind pedestrian is considered an offense that can result in a fine of up to $150.
What to do if You are Stopped for a Violation
A police stop can be frustrating, but you can do some things to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. After you are stopped for failing to yield or for any moving violation, you should remain in the vehicle and turn off its ignition. You should be polite and follow the requests of the officer, respecting the reason for the stop without acknowledging any guilt on your part. A traffic ticket is not in itself a serious offense, but an accumulation of violations can lead to costly fines and an increase in your insurance premium. You could even lose your driving privileges. However, a defense attorney can help you deal with these and other issues. If you are facing a serious traffic violation, consider turning to the services of a Pennsylvania criminal lawyer.