Connecticut Right-of-Way Laws

Car Accidents On Monday, March 27, 2023

Connecticut has right-of-way traffic laws, rules and regulations that must be obeyed by every road user to prevent motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, not all drivers obey these laws. If a driver causes a car accident by failing to yield the right-of-way, his or her car insurance company may be financially responsible. 

What Does Right-of-Way Mean?

The right-of-way is the legal right to proceed with priority over others in a particular situation or location. At an intersection, the driver with the right-of-way is permitted to proceed across the road. All other drivers must yield the right-of-way, meaning they must come to a complete stop and allow the driver with the right-of-way to proceed. All types of road users have an obligation to obey Connecticut’s right-of-way laws, including drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Who Has the Right-of-Way at an Intersection?

Right-of-way laws are most important at intersections. Intersections are places where two lanes of traffic or types of road users intersect. As such, these locations come with a high risk of collisions. According to the Department of Transportation, more than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.

Although every state has its own right-of-way laws, the road rules at an intersection remain generally the same. In Connecticut, who has the right-of-way depends on the type of intersection:

  • At an intersection that has a stop sign, a driver must stop. The driver that approached the intersection first will have the right-of-way to proceed. If two drivers approach at the same time, the driver to the right will have the right-of-way.
  • At a four-way stop intersection, all drivers must stop. The driver that arrives at the intersection first will proceed first. If multiple drivers stop at the same time, the driver on the right goes first.
  • An intersection that is controlled by a stoplight or traffic signal will give a steady green light to the drivers who have the right-of-way. Any driver faced with a yellow or red light must slow down or stop to yield the right-of-way to drivers with the green light.
  • At an uncontrolled intersection with no stop sign or stoplight, drivers should stop and treat it like a stop sign. Whoever approached the intersection first will have the right-of-way, and everyone else must yield.

At an intersection with a traffic circle in Connecticut, drivers who approach the traffic circle must yield to drivers who are already in the circle. If someone fails to yield the right-of-way at an intersection in Connecticut, he or she may be financially responsible for a related car accident.

When Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way in Connecticut?

Connecticut’s right-of-way laws are also important for pedestrian safety. In Connecticut, pedestrians do not automatically have the right-of-way in all situations, even though they are the most vulnerable road users. Pedestrians have a responsibility to yield the right-of-way when they are given the “Wait” signal or red light at a controlled intersection. No pedestrian can leave a curb or place of safety to cross a road in front of a vehicle that is approaching quickly enough to make it impossible for the driver to stop.

Pedestrians have the right-of-way at uncontrolled intersections and crosswalks in Connecticut. At a marked or unmarked crosswalk or intersection that is not controlled by a traffic signal, motor vehicle drivers must stop and grant the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing the road. It is against the law for a driver to pass another vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross at a crosswalk. Any driver who violates Connecticut’s pedestrian right-of-way laws can receive a fine of up to $500.

Compensation for Right-of-Way Car Accidents

It is important for all road users to obey right-of-way laws, as these rules direct traffic and prevent collisions between two lanes of opposite-direction traffic. Violating the law could lead to a serious car accident, such as a T-bone accident or pedestrian-vehicle collision. If you get injured in a right-of-way car accident in Connecticut, contact an attorney to discuss your options for seeking financial compensation. The at-fault driver or party may be financially responsible for your crash.

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