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You Don't Have The Right-Of-Way!

Police officers and driving school instructors hear it all the time; "But I had the right-of-way!" In today's frenetic driving environment, drivers seem reluctant to give up the right-of-way, even when someone else is trying to take it. This attitude can result in instances of road rage and car crashes. The truth is, on America's roads, no one has the right-of-way.

It can be a hard concept to understand, especially since, when we were learning the rules of the road to get our driver's license, we had to learn who had the right-of-way in certain circumstances. Actually, state laws do not give any driver the right-of-way nor do police try to determine who had the right-of-way. The laws only state who should have given up the right-of-way to another driver.

No driver can take the right-of-way; they can only give up the right-of-way to another driver. When entering the interstate from an on-ramp, we were all taught that traffic on the main thoroughfare has the right-of-way. At a four-way stop, we all learned that the driver who arrived first has the right-of-way. What that actually means is that we should give the right-of-way to the traffic on the interstate or to the driver who arrived first at the intersection. The driver on the interstate can't "take the right-of-way" if the driver on the on-ramp doesn't want to give it to him. The driver at the four-way stop can't claim the right-of-way if the other driver tries to take it first.

Every state has a law that says a driver has the responsibility to do everything possible to avoid a collision. If a collision results because a driver insists on taking what they believe to be their legal right-of-way, in spite of the fact that the other driver is also trying to claim it, both drivers will be held equally responsible. Doing everything possible to avoid a collision means that the responsible driver will give up the right-of-way to another driver who insists on taking it.

Recognizing that the traffic on the interstate or the driver who arrived first at the stop sign has the right-of-way and giving it to them is the key to being a safe driver. Another key to safe driving is watching for aggressive drivers and staying out of their way; even if that means you have to delay your trip for a moment or so.

A driver who has to give up the right-of-way to an inconsiderate aggressive driver has every reason to be upset and angry but at least they won't have to deal with a car crash. Remember the concept of F.I.D.O; Forget It and Drive On.

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