One of the most common places traffic accidents occur is at intersections. Cars are crossing paths, people may try to run yellow lights, and determining who has the right-of-way can be complicated, to say the least. And since right-of-way laws vary state to state, how do you know when to yield in Kentucky?

Whether you’re visiting Kentucky or you’re a full-time resident, knowing the right-of-way laws can help to keep you safe on the road. Read on to discover the basic regulations when driving in the commonwealth.

Four-Way Stops

As a general rule, whichever driver reaches an intersection with no traffic light first has the right-of-way. This applies to two-, three-, and four-way stops. If two drivers reach an intersection at the same time, the driver on the right has the right-of-way.

Throughout the commonwealth, all traffic lights, road signs, and police officers must be obeyed. Even if you believe you may technically have the right-of-way, directions from a traffic guard supersede those regulations.

Unregulated Intersections

There are some intersections in Kentucky that don’t have a road sign, traffic light, or other indication of who has the right-of-way. When you approach an unregulated intersection, the general rule of thumb is to yield to any vehicles that are already in the intersection. If you and another vehicle come to an unmarked intersection at the same time, the driver on the right will have the right-of-way.

Left Turns

When you’re making a left turn at an intersection with no traffic light, you will likely need to yield the right-of-way. You are required to yield to any traffic going straight across the intersection. You also have to yield the right-of-way to any vehicles turning right, including bicycles.

Turning in Roadways

If you need to turn around in the middle of a roadway, you will not have right-of-way over anyone else coming through the intersection. You can only perform this maneuver if there are no other drivers immediately around and it is safe to do so. Always be careful when turning in roadways, and try to find someplace to turn off the road and turn around if at all possible.


It should almost go without saying that, regardless of right-of-way, drivers are required to avoid any pedestrian in the roadway. Even if the pedestrian does not have the right-of-way, legally speaking, you are not allowed to hit the pedestrian.

That being said, there are regulations governing who has the right-of-way between a pedestrian and a motorist. If an intersection has a crosswalk, but no traffic light, pedestrians have the right-of-way in the crosswalk. If you are turning at a corner and a pedestrian is crossing in a crosswalk with a traffic light, they have the right of way.

Extenuating Circumstances

There are also some extenuating circumstances that override normal right-of-way laws in Kentucky. Any time an emergency vehicle is driving with their lights and sirens on, you are required to yield the right-of-way to them. You are also required to move out of their way if you are driving in the same direction.

If there is an emergency vehicle pulled over on the side of the road, you have to pull over into the next lane over if possible. If the road is a one-lane road or if you can’t safely change lanes, you must slow down and approach with caution.

You are also required to yield to garbage trucks and other solid-waste collection vehicles when they’re collecting trash, recycling, and debris and their lights are flashing.

Get the Representation You Need

Navigating right-of-way in Kentucky can be complicated, but if you remember a few rules of thumb, you can stay safe. Always follow traffic signals, posted signs, and traffic officers at intersections, and remember that the driver on the right usually has the right-of-way. You must also yield to emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, and pedestrians in the roadway.

If you’re hurt in an intersection accident in Lexington, KY, Minner Vines Injury Lawyers, PLLC want to help. We’ve recovered over a billion dollars for our clients, and we’re ready to go to bat for you, too. Schedule a free consultation with us today to start getting the representation you deserve.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Lexington Today To Get More Information

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please call Minner Vines Injury Lawyers, PLLC for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.

Minner Vines Injury Lawyers, PLLC
325 W Main St #210, Lexington, KY 40507
(859) 550-2900