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Who Has the Right of Way at a Four-Way Stop?

It is crucial that Portland drivers understand right-of-way laws. These laws prevent serious automobile accidents from occurring and keep the roadways safe and orderly in Portland. Oregon’s right-of-way laws are similar to those of other states. Unfortunately, according to state law enforcement, a high percentage of auto accidents in Portland are caused by one driver failing to yield the right-of-way. Understanding who has the right away at a four-way stop will help you avoid accidents. If you have been involved in a right-of-way accident, determining who was at fault will be crucial to obtaining compensation through an insurance settlement or lawsuit. Talk to a car accident attorney in Portland to learn more.

Only the Driver Already in the Intersection Has the Right of Way

Many drivers learn that the driver who stopped first or the driver to your right has the right of way at a four-way stop. However, this is not the case. Neither is it the case that the person going straight has the right of way over someone turning left if both cars are already in the intersection. Instead, the only person with the right of way at a four-way stop sign in Oregon is the driver already in the intersection.

According to Oregon traffic laws, a driver approaching a stop sign must stop at the stop line. After stopping, the driver must “yield the right away to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.” In other words, there is no right of way for a vehicle approaching from your right at a four-way stop.

Nonetheless, the Oregon Driver Manual states that it is a common courtesy to allow the driver who stops first to go at a four-way stop. When a driver is in doubt, the manual recommends he or she should yield to the driver on his or her right. The manual also recommends that drivers never insist on the right of way to help you avoid the risk of a crash.

The Right-of-Way at Open Intersections

Who has the right of way at an open intersection with no stop signs or traffic signals? When a driver enters an open intersection, he or she should yield the right away if there is already another vehicle within the intersection. Should two vehicles enter an open intersection simultaneously, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. Drivers waiting to make a left turn at an open intersection must yield to oncoming traffic and only make the left turn when it is reasonably safe to do so.

The Right-of-Way at Roundabouts

Roundabouts are not as common as four-way stops in Oregon, but they do exist. Roundabouts keep a steady flow of traffic by allowing all vehicles to move slowly through the intersection instead of making vehicles stop and wait their turn. When a vehicle comes up to a roundabout, the driver should yield to the traffic already going around the roundabout. A driver should only merge into the roundabout when it is safe and clear to do so.

Right of Way With School Buses

Passing a school bus is illegal when the bus is stopped and its red lights are flashing. This is still the case even when a school bus is coming from the other direction of a four-lane highway, and there is a center turn lane or painted median. All other drivers must stop and stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing and the bus driver retracts the stop sign. The only exception to this general rule would be on a divided highway, and a barrier or unpaved median strip separates the two sides. Failure to stop when a school bus is stopped with the stop sign out and blinking lights on is a traffic violation in Oregon, and you will face receiving a ticket if you do not comply.

Penalties for Right-of-Way Violations

Unlike some other states, Oregon does not have a point system for driver’s licenses. However, if you violate right-of-way laws, you will face significant fines. The fine amount for failure to yield the right-of-way varies depending on the individual county within which you receive a ticket.  Drivers involved in accidents caused by failure to yield the right-of-way can face civil liability through a personal injury lawsuit.

Recovering Damages After a Four-Way-Stop Accident

According to Oregon law, what happens if you become injured in a car accident caused by a driver who failed to yield? The victim may have a right to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. Suppose driver A arrived at a four-way stop first and began to make a turn. After driver A was already in the intersection but had not completed the turn, driver B pulls into the intersection and collides with driver A.

In this example, driver A would have a right to seek compensation from driver B. Under Oregon traffic law, the driver who was already in the intersection has the right of way. In this case, driver A was already in the intersection and had the right of way. Driver A can seek compensation from driver B’s insurance policy. Alternatively, driver A could sue driver B in civil court for damages caused by the car accident. Successful plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages associated with the car accident.

Discuss Your Case With a Portland Car Accident Lawyer

Have you or your loved one been seriously injured in a car accident involving a four-way stop? The sooner you speak to an experienced Portland injury lawyer, the better. Contact DuBois Law Group today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more about how we can advocate for you.