How to Yield Properly In Houston

A good driver always knows when to yield. Yielding to other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians is critical to preventing accidents and keeping others safe on the roadway. There are general traffic laws for who should yield the right-of-way and when.

Preventable car accidents happen when drivers break these laws. In 2015, 3,453 crashes around the country occurred due to someone failing to yield the right-of-way. Don’t become part of the problem. Protect others from harm and yourself from liability by learning how to yield properly in Houston.

Yielding at Intersections

Yielding the right-of-way refers to stopping and allowing another vehicle or person to proceed before you. Roads in Texas may have yield signs or signals in place to protect traffic operating together at intersections and other junctures. The law does not grant the right-of-way – it simply states when someone must yield it to another. Failure to yield the right-of-way can cause accidents and lead to legal trouble.

Intersection accidents are some of the most common in Houston. Every year, people get into fender benders and worse collisions at downtown intersections. The most dangerous Houston intersections include Greens Rd. and John F. Kennedy Blvd., Gessner and Sam Houston Parkway, and Crosby Freeway and Sam Houston Parkway.

Most four-way stops and intersections around the country work the same way. At controlled intersections with stop signs and traffic signals, always obey the signal given. Wait for the green arrow to turn. If there is only a green light, wait until it’s safe to cross oncoming traffic to turn.

If you approach an intersection with no traffic signals or only stop signs, the vehicle that was the first to the intersection drives first. If you and another car arrive at the intersection simultaneously, always yield the right-of-way to the vehicle to your right.

If you’re at an intersection with multiple-lane roads, all drivers on the smaller road yield to vehicles on the multi-lane road. At a T-intersection with a dead-end road, the driver on the dead-end road must yield to traffic on the other street.

Yielding to Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Bicycle laws in Houston prohibit cyclists from riding on the sidewalks downtown. Bicyclists must obey the same roadway rules and traffic signals as motor vehicle drivers, and motorists must treat bicyclists like other drivers. At intersections, a driver must yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist if the bicyclist approached the intersection first.

Otherwise, the bicyclist must yield to the vehicle that was there first. As a driver, never assume bicyclists will obey the rules of yielding. Often, cyclists don’t understand the law or purposefully fail to give drivers the right-of-way. Play it safe by assuming a bicyclist won’t yield you the right-of-way.

If a bicyclist is riding on the sidewalk and utilizing a crosswalk, yield the right-of-way every time. The exception is if a traffic signal controls the crosswalk, and the bicyclist does not have the cross signal. Again, assume the biker will cross the street even when he or she does not have the right-of-way.

Proceed across intersections carefully. You must always give the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks or those safely crossing at marked intersections. People with seeing-eye guide dogs and those using white canes also always get the right-of-way in Houston. When in doubt, slow down and yield the way to vulnerable roadway users.