Intersection right of way accident law goes to the car going straight and the car making a left turn must yield the right of way when they approach an intersection from opposite directions.

Wisconsin defines “right of way” as the privilege of the immediate use of the roadway and, further provides, that the driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left across the path of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction shall yield the right of way to that vehicle.

The word “approaching” involves a concept of nearness in space and time.  An automobile is approaching an intersection when it is not so far distant from the intersection that, considering the speed at which it is traveling, it is reasonable to assume that a collision will occur if the driver of the automobile intending to turn left undertakes to do so by changing the course of the automobile from the right lane, across the center line, and into the path of the oncoming automobile.

If the oncoming automobile was approaching the intersection, it became the duty of the driver turning left to yield the right of way to the approaching automobile.

But what if there is a traffic control light that is turning from green to yellow for both drivers? Jury instruction 1192 states that a driver facing a yellow signal shown with or following a green light, shall stop before entering the intersection unless so close to it that a stop cannot be made in safety. The yellow or amber light, signifies caution, so the straight ahead driver was required to stop unless so close to the traffic signal that a stop could not be made in safety.

Lets say the driver going straight (he has the right of way going in) is speeding. Does he forfeit the right of way by speeding? Only at an uncontrolled intersection and only if no other right of way rule applies. So in our left turn at a controlled intersection, the “speeding” driver does not automatically lose the right of way, but his speed may be a factor contributing to his negligence, along with the fact he went through a yellow. Wis. Stats. Sec. 346.18 (1) is a general rule that when no other provisions govern right of way and its at an uncontrolled intersection rule, then speeding forfeits right of way. Also, the point of impact on the vehicles may put more negligence on the straight ahead “right of way” driver.

McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best results in accident case left turn right of way when the accident report clearly supports our client’s version of right of way.