Right-of-Way Laws in Illinois

Whether you find yourself driving outside of Carbondale or in the heart of Chicago, following Illinois right-of-way laws is essential. Following these rules of the road not only helps you avoid a traffic ticket and the accompanying fines and costs, but it can also save you from being involved in a severe car accident at an intersection.

By driving in Illinois, the law presumes you know and will follow these right-of-way rules. This is true even if you encounter an intersection where there are no signs or signals to remind you of these laws. Fortunately for drivers, the most common Illinois right-of-way laws are mostly a matter of common sense and are not difficult to remember.

Who Has the Right of Way on Illinois Roads?

The right of way refers to the legal right to drive on your intended path. When you have the right of way, all other traffic around you must stop and wait for you to pass before they can continue on their way. Conversely, when another driver has the right of way, you must yield to that other driver.

Some of the most common situations where one driver must yield the right of way to another include the following:

At Intersections With No Signs or Signals

If you and another vehicle both come upon an intersection without any traffic signs or signals, whoever reaches the intersection first has the right of way. If the other driver wants to go in a direction that conflicts with where the first driver is going, the second driver must wait until it is safe to proceed.

However, when you and another driver arrive at the intersection at precisely the same time, then the driver who has a vehicle on their right must yield the right of way to that vehicle. If you do not see another vehicle approaching or waiting on your right-hand side, then you have the right of way and can proceed.

When Turning Left Without a Traffic Signal or Sign

Suppose that you are driving along a busy street with opposing lanes of traffic, and you want to turn left onto another street or into a parking lot — but there is no signal or sign available. Illinois law says you must yield the right of way to any oncoming traffic and can make your turn only when it is safe to do so. In this case, any opposing traffic has the right of way.

Once traffic has cleared to where you can make your turn safely, you have the right of way and can go ahead with your turn.

When Approaching a Pedestrian

Right-of-way laws do not only apply to cars and trucks. They also apply when you come upon pedestrians. As a motorist, you must yield the right of way to any pedestrian who is in a marked crosswalk. If the pedestrian is crossing a street at any other place besides a marked crosswalk, that pedestrian should yield the right of way to any motorist.

In no case should a pedestrian simply dart out into the road without first checking to ensure it is safe to enter the street.

Following the Right-of-Way Rules in Illinois

It can be challenging to remember who has the right of way in the moment. However, whether you are at an uncontrolled intersection or turning left in front of other traffic, it’s best to err on the side of caution. 

A good rule of thumb is to always proceed along your way only if it is safe to do so. While you can be cited for not yielding the right of way when you should in Illinois, no law prevents you from giving up the right of way in the name of safety.

Contact Our Chicago Car Accident Law Firm For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Chicago, Illinois, and need legal help, contact our experienced car accident lawyers at Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Cook County and its surrounding areas:

Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers
134 N La Salle St #2160
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 929-2884