Matthew Minner | March 16, 2022 | Car Accident
Kentucky has a lot of laws about yielding the right of way. You probably learned most of these during your driver’s education course or when studying for the driver’s license exam.
If you fail to follow these rules, you could get a citation and have points added to your driving record. But more importantly, a failure to follow the right of way can result in a car accident.
Here is an overview of Kentucky’s laws about yielding the right of way.
Yielding the Right of Way in Kentucky
To “yield” means to wait your turn or until your way clears. Kentucky’s right of way laws surrounding yielding generally fall into three categories:
Kentucky’s right of way rules have an interesting structure. Kentucky has a general rule for anytime two vehicles are approaching or entering an intersection from different directions at the same time. In these cases, the vehicle to the left must yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.
This rule applies to all intersections unless modified by:
- Traffic lights
- Traffic cops
Cities and towns in Kentucky commonly modify this rule with stop or yield signs. When you encounter a stop or yield sign, you must stop and yield the right of way until cross-traffic clears.
Kentucky also authorizes local authorities to place traffic lights at intersections to direct traffic and tell vehicles to yield using green, yellow, and red lights.
Kentucky’s right-of-way rules also cover U-turns, left turns, and right turns. You must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic when making a U-turn or left turn. When turning right or entering the roadway from a parking lot or onramp, you must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the roadway.
2. Vulnerable Road Users
Kentucky has a separate set of laws protecting vulnerable road users like pedestrians, road workers, and public safety vehicles.
Pedestrians have two rules:
- At a crosswalk, vehicles must yield the right of way to the pedestrian
- Anywhere outside of crosswalks, pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles
Kentucky modifies this rule for blind pedestrians. Drivers must always yield to blind pedestrians with a white cane or a seeing-eye dog — whether they are in a crosswalk or not.
Vulnerable road users also include public service vehicles like construction vehicles, utility trucks, and tow trucks. Drivers must yield to these vehicles when they are parked on the highway with their lights flashing. Drivers must also yield to construction workers, tow truck drivers, and utility workers working on the highway.
3. Special Vehicles
Kentucky has two laws for special vehicles. The “Slow Down to Get Around” law requires drivers to yield the right of way to stationary solid waste collection vehicles. In other words, you must slow down or stop for garbage trucks or garbage collection workers.
Kentucky’s “Move Over” law requires drivers to yield the right of way to both moving and parked emergency vehicles like police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances.
When an emergency vehicle approaches you from either direction, you must move to the right and yield the right of way until the vehicle passes.
More importantly, the law requires you to change lanes, if possible, to leave an empty lane adjacent to parked emergency vehicles with flashing lights.
Penalties for Failing to Yield the Right of Way
If you fail to yield the right of way, a police officer can cite you. The fine for failing to yield the right of way varies from $50 to $75. The one exception is a failure to yield to an emergency vehicle. For that violation, a judge sets the fine in court.
In Kentucky, a failure to yield causes over 10,000 traffic accidents every year, making it the third most common cause of car crashes. If a driver causes an accident due to a failure to yield, that driver may bear the liability for the accident.