Right of way is often a contested issue in Wisconsin automobile accident cases. The next two posts will go straight to the Wisconsin DOT Motorists Handbook for the straight answers. As explained below, right of way is really the flip side of failure to yield. The law says who must yield in certain traffic situations, it does not confer special rights to the other driver.
Vehicles or pedestrians are likely to meet one another where there are no signs or lights to control traffic. These rules tell who goes first and who must wait in different traffic situations. The one who must wait is yielding right-of-way to the one who goes first. The law says who must yield the right-of-way. It does not give anyone the right-of-way. You should do everything you
can to keep from hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle. This includes bicycles and animal-drawn vehicles.
At an intersection where there are no signs or traffic lights, you must yield to vehicles coming from the right. At a four-way stop, the driver reaching the intersection first goes first (after coming to a complete stop.) If more than one vehicle arrives at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first. You must yield to vehicles already on the main road if you are entering a road from a driveway, alley or roadside. You must yield to traffic already in a roundabout, traffic circle or rotary. You must yield to cross traffic if your roadway dead-ends.
When passing a vehicle traveling in the same direction, you must yield to it even if it is slowing or coming to a stop.
You must yield where necessary to avoid striking pedestrians who are crossing the road.
You must yield to pedestrians when you are entering or exiting a driveway, alley or parking lot.
You must stop before crossing a sidewalk if you are entering or crossing a highway from a driveway, alley or parking lot. It is illegal to drive on a sidewalk except to cross it.
Pedestrians using a dog guide or carrying a white cane have absolute right-of-way (even if not at an intersection.) Do not use your horn as it could startle the blind pedestrian. If you see anyone in the roadway with a dog guide or a white cane, stop at least ten feet away until the person is off the roadway.
Drivers making a left turn or U-turn must yield to vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, including bicycles.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin obtains car accident settlements for medical bills, wage loss, pain, suffering and disability for failure to yield the right of way.