315 people have died in car crashes during 2021 in Ontario. Guess what was the leading cause behind these deaths after speeding and distracted driving? It was a lack of understanding of the right of way rules.
This article will discuss what right of way means and outline the rules for yielding to oncoming traffic under different circumstances. We will also discuss the benefits of obeying these rules and the penalties for disobeying them. Finally, we will answer some frequently asked questions about the right of way in Ontario.
Table of Contents
What is the Right of Way?
A pedestrian’s or vehicle’s legal right to go straight in a given direction is known as the right of way. It is important to note that the right of way is not always absolute, and there are circumstances in which you may be required to yield to oncoming traffic.
Right-of-way rules are designed to keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely. They govern who has the right to go first at intersections, four-way stops, and other locations where two or more lanes of traffic meet with or without traffic signs.
It’s important to know and follow right-of-way rules because failure to do so can result in serious accidents. For example, if two drivers reach a four-way stop at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. If both drivers fail to yield, they may collide.
In general, the rule of thumb is that vehicles should yield to pedestrians and that drivers should yield to oncoming traffic when turning left. However, there are many exceptions to these rules, which we will discuss in more detail below.
What are the Benefits of Following Right of Way Rules?
There are many benefits to following right of way rules, such as:
1. Reduced accidents: Following right-of-way rules can help to reduce the number of accidents. Because following these regulations helps to guarantee that traffic proceeds as smoothly and safely as possible.
2. Fewer traffic jams: There are fewer traffic jams when everyone follows the right of way rules. This is because there is less confusion about who has the right of way, and traffic can move more efficiently.
3. Safer pedestrians: Pedestrians are safer when drivers obey the right of way rules. This is due to the fact that drivers are less likely to hit pedestrians if they know they have the right-of-way.
4. Less road rage: Obeying right of way rules can help to reduce road rage. This is because drivers who follow the rules are less likely to irritate other motorists by cutting them off or driving too slowly.
5. Fewer Chances of Conviction in Case of an Accident: When an accident occurs, both parties are more likely to be found at fault if they did not follow the right of way rules. But if you had the right of way, you would be less likely to be convicted.
6. Easier to Drive defensively: When you know the right of way rules, it is easier to drive defensively. This is because you will be able to anticipate what other drivers might do, and you can be prepared for it.
Right of Way Rules in Ontario
Section 135 to 144 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act governs the rules of right of way. In light of these sections, we have concluded the following rules:
1. At a Two-way Stop Sign Intersection:
It is a must to yield to oncoming traffic at a two-way stop. If you have to make a left turn, you should also yield to the vehicles facing you. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the one on the right goes first.
2. At a Three-way Stop Sign Intersection:
The same rules apply as in a two-way stop sign intersection. You should yield to oncoming traffic and the vehicle to your right. The only difference is that if two vehicles arrive simultaneously in a three-way stop, the one going straight has the right of way over the one making a left turn.
3. At a Four-way Stop Sign Intersection:
When you are at a four-way intersection with stop signs on each side, the first vehicle to enter the intersection has the right of way. If two or more vehicles entered the intersection at the same time, the vehicle that came to a stop first has the right of way.
4. At an Intersection without Stop Signs:
In an intersection without stop signs, the vehicle that arrived first has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive simultaneously, the one on the right goes first.
5. While Making Left or Right Turn with Oncoming Traffic:
You should always yield to oncoming traffic whenever you make a left-hand turn or right turn.
6. While at Pedestrians Crossing:
You must always yield to pedestrians crossing the road, whether it is at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. You should also yield to pedestrians who are about to enter the roadway from between parked cars.
7. While Exiting Your Driveway:
While you are exiting your driveway or private road, you should always yield to approaching traffic and pedestrians.
8. While on Crosswalks or School Crossings:
Pedestrians have the right of way on crosswalks and school crossings. If a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian in these situations, they can be fined. Laws require drivers to stop completely when a pedestrian is crossing an uncontrolled crosswalk.
9. While Entering a Round About:
In Ontario, the right of way on a roundabout is determined by traffic approaching from the driver’s right. Drivers yield to traffic on their left and pedestrians crossing from any direction. When there are multiple lanes on the approach, drivers in the inner lane must yield to both drivers in the outer lane and pedestrians. Drivers should enter the roundabout only when there is a sufficient gap in traffic to do so safely. They should also use their turn signal when exiting the roundabout.
10. While Merging into Traffic on a Highway:
When merging onto a highway, drivers must yield to traffic already on the highway. They should also merge into traffic only when it is safe to do so.
11. While Driving in a Parking Lot:
20% of all road accidents occur in parking lots. The right of way in a parking lot is determined by the fact that either you are in a driving lane or a feeder lane. Feeder lanes are small lanes that lead to the parking spots. If you are in a feeder lane, you must yield to drivers in driving lanes. If you are in a driving lane and want to turn into a feeder lane, then you must yield to oncoming traffic in the feeder lane.
Most Common Mistakes of Right of Way
Following are the most common right of way mistakes drivers make while driving:
1. Not Yielding to Pedestrians:
Crosswalks are there for a reason. Some drivers will start moving when the pedestrian has crossed their lane, however, this is a big mistake. You must not start moving unless the pedestrian has crossed the completed road. Failing to do so can result in a serious accident.
2. Not Stopping at Stop Signs:
This is a common mistake that drivers make, especially at busy intersections. Always come to a complete stop at a stop sign before proceeding. Remember, the first car to arrive at the intersection has the right of way.
3. Not Yielding to Emergency Vehicles:
If you see an emergency vehicle with its lights and sirens on, you must yield to it. Move over to the side of the road if possible to let it pass.
4. Not Yielding to Bicycles:
Bicycles have the same rights as other vehicles on the road. That means you need to yield to them when they are in your path or a bike lane. More than 747 cyclists have died in accidents between 2006 and 2020.
5. Not Yeilding on Roundabouts:
Roundabouts can be confusing for some drivers. The basic rule of thumb is to yield to traffic already in the roundabout. If there are no cars in the roundabout, you can proceed.
By following these simple rules, you can help to keep the roads safe for everyone.
What are Penalties for Disobeying Right of Way Rules?
In Ontario, there are several penalties that can be imposed for disobeying right of way rules. The specific penalty will depend on the infraction that was committed, as well as the jurisdiction in which the offence took place.
Some of the potential penalties for disobeying right of way rules in Ontario include:
- A fine of $110
- Three demerit points
- Car insurance rate increases
How Do Failing to Yield the Right of Way Impact Insurance Rates?
Failing to yield the right of way is one of the most common driving mistakes that can lead to an accident. When you cause an accident by failing to yield, your insurance rates are likely to go up. Your insurance provider may charge you a higher premium in Ontario if you’re at fault for an accident. The amount your rates increase will depend on several factors, including the severity of the accident and whether anyone was injured.
If you’re found at fault for an accident, it’s important to talk to your insurance agent about how it will affect your rates. They can help you understand what to expect and how to keep your rates from increasing too much.
The Pro Tip for Right of Way
The best way to avoid an accident is to be a defensive driver. This means being aware of your surroundings and anticipating what other drivers might do. If you’re ever in doubt about who has the right of way or there is no yield sign, it’s always best to yield.
Right of way is an important concept to understand when operating a vehicle. By understanding the road rules, you can help to keep yourself and others safe.
We hope that this article has helped clear up some of the questions you may have had about the right of way in Ontario. If you have any further questions or would like to share your own experiences with the right of way, we encourage you to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you make a left turn at an intersection?
You must yield to oncoming traffic in Ontario when making a left turn at an intersection. You must also signal your intention to turn left before making the turn. When turning left, you should stay as close to the left side of the road as possible.
Can you make a left turn at red traffic lights in Ontario?
In general, you are allowed to make a left turn at a red traffic light in Ontario. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If there is a sign that says no left turn on red, you must not turn left at the red light. You must wait until the green light turns green.
Who goes first at a four-way stop?
At a four-way stop, the driver who arrives first should go first. If two drivers arrive simultaneously, then the driver on the right should go first. If you’re not sure who has the right of way, you can always yield to other drivers.
Under what circumstances you must yield the right of way?
When an ambulance, fire truck, or police car is approaching with its lights and sirens on, you must yield the right of way. You should also yield to pedestrians who are crossing the road and vehicles that are already in the intersection.
The first vehicle to enter has the right-of-way at a four-way stop. If two or more cars stop at the same time, right-of-way goes to the vehicle on the right. Be patient – if someone goes forward without obeying right-of-way, wait your turn.How does right-of-way work Ontario? ›
Yielding the right-of-way
At an intersection without signs or lights, you must yield the right-of-way to a vehicle approaching the intersection before you, and if you arrive at the same time, the vehicle approaching from the right has the right-of-way (Diagram 2-18).
Any time you approach an intersection and need to make a left or right turn, you must yield the right-of-way to any oncoming traffic. For example, you must wait for approaching vehicles to pass or turn. Be sure to check your blind spot for cyclists as well.In what situation must vehicles traveling on a single lane road yield the right-of-way to other vehicles? ›
When there are no signs or signals, drivers must yield right of way to any other vehicle to their right. When a single- or two-lane road intersects with a multi-lane road, traffic on the single- or two-lane road yields right of way to traffic on the bigger highway.When three cars arrive at a four way stop at the same time who should go first? ›
Always yield to the right
If three vehicles arrive at the same time, the car furthest left should continue to yield until both of the other cars to the right of them have passed.
Responsibility of the Easement
An Easement grants use of a part of property, but does not transfer interest. As such, the original property owner is still responsible for the taxes on the part of the property. Maintenance of the easement is usually the responsibility of the property owner.
What are Easements and Rights-of-Way? Easements are nonpossessory interests in real property. More simply, an easement is the right to use another's property for a specific purpose. Rights-of-way are easements that specifically grant the holder the right to travel over another's property.What car always has the right of way? ›
The first car to arrive always receives the right of way. If you arrive at the same time as another driver, the one who's farthest to the right gets the right of way. If three vehicles arrive at the same time, the rule of “right-most has the right of way” still holds, and the car farthest left goes last.Can I drive in Canada with a US license? ›
Can you drive in Canada with a US license? US licenses are valid in Canada. When operating a car in Canada, you'll need to have your license, auto insurance, and registration in the vehicle at all times.Do people drive on the opposite side of the road in Canada? ›
List of all left- & right-driving countries around the world.
|Country / state / territory||drive(s) on the||left / right|
|Canada||drives on the||right|
At 'T' intersections where you must yield to vehicles on the through road; When turning left in which case you must yield to oncoming pedestrians, cars, etc.; When driving on an unpaved road that intersections with a paved road; and. When returning to the roadway after the car is parked.Which principle with respect to right-of-way is not correct? ›
Which principle, with respect to right-of-way, is not correct? The right-of-way is taken, not given.When vehicles traveling on a two lane road must yield the right-of-way to other vehicles on an intersecting road? ›
If two vehicles approach the intersection at the same time then yield to the vehicle on your right. If a two lane road intersects with a road of three or more lanes the driver on the road with one or two lanes must yield to the driver on the road with more lanes.What happens if 4 people come to a 4-way stop at the same time? ›
If all four drivers arrive at the intersection at the same time, the drivers who plan on going straight are allowed to proceed through the intersection first. If all four drivers are turning right at the intersection, they may proceed simultaneously.What happens if 4 people arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time? ›
If two or more cars arrive at a four-way stop simultaneously, the driver furthest to the right always proceeds first, and each next driver in the clockwise direction follows. If four cars arrive at a four-way stop simultaneously, drivers going straight should proceed first.Who gets to go first at a four-way stop? ›
If two or three motorists reach a four-way stop simultaneously, each driver must yield to the driver to their right. That means the driver without a vehicle in the intersection to their right would have the right of way and go first. This rule applies until all vehicles have safely passed through the intersection.Do pedestrians always have the right of way in Ontario? ›
Drivers must stop their vehicles for pedestrians and not proceed until the pedestrian is off the roadway. Drivers must not pass a vehicle that is already stopped at a pedestrian crossover. Drivers must not pass a moving vehicle that is within 30 metres of a crossover.What are squatters rights in Ontario? ›
Squatter's rights, also known as "adverse possession" in property law, generally refers to a situation where others who continuously use a portion of your land for a legally specified number of years — in the absence of your objection to that use — can potentially claim legal use to that portion of your property.Can a property be landlocked in Ontario? ›
A parcel of land (lot) is landlocked (enclaved) if it has no access to the public road or if this access is insufficient, difficult or impassable. Public roads include not only provincial and municipal streets and roads, but also any road leading to them.Can a property owner block an easement Ontario? ›
As a general rule, the dominant tenement landowner cannot block a right of way for his benefit where the right of way is for passage or egress or ingress. For instance, motor vehicles cannot be parked in the right of way.
Right of way
It is very often wider than the road and sidewalks that may abut your property and can extend to a considerable extent onto your property. The City maintains a right-of-way wider than the width of the road in the event that a road widening becomes necessary at some point in the future.
Easements are granted to authorize a specific long-term use of public land. Such uses include rights-of-way for state highways, county roads, electric utility lines, telephone lines, railroads, oil and gas pipelines, telecommunication sites and similar uses.Do cars naturally veer to the right? ›
Cars designed for driving on the right side of the road are manufactured to pull slightly to the right. This is to prevent the car from drifting into oncoming traffic if the driver falls asleep at the wheel. That being said, this should only be a very slight pull to the right.What is a right handed vehicle? ›
A right-hand drive vehicle has the controls on the right side, and the vehicle is intended to be driven on the left side of the road. SMART Vocabulary: related words and phrases.What is the right of way and other road privileges? ›
"Right of way is the privilege of immediate use of the street or highway."' These definitions serve to describe generally a relative right which is inherently a nebulous conception and which becomes a concrete right only in the light of the circumstances of each case.Can I drive in Ontario with a US license? ›
When you move to Ontario, you can use a valid licence from another province, state or country for 60 days. After 60 days, you need to switch to an Ontario driver's licence.How long can I drive in Canada with my US license? ›
Depending on the province or territory, you can use your US driver's license in Canada for between 60 and 90 days. If you are staying in Canada longer, you will then need to acquire a Canadian driver's license. For example, in Ontario, the maximum is 60 days, while in British Columbia, it's 90 days.Can you use US dollars in Canada? ›
All of Canada uses the Canadian dollar, however certain retailers throughout the country will accept the US dollar as a form of payment for goods. We highly suggest you to use the local currency to pay for goods and services.Do Americans and Canadians drive on the same side of the road? ›
Individual driving laws can vary by province or territory in Canada, but for the most part, the basics for driving in Canada remain the same regardless of region—and are often quite similar to driving in America, such as driving on the right side of the road.Is driving in Canada different than the US? ›
Driving basics in Canada
Unlike other countries which used to be under British rule or part of Commonwealth, vehicles in Canada drive on the right side of the road. Canada has a metric system – kilometers & meters compared to its southern neighbor the USA, where they use the imperial system (miles and yards).
use the sidewalk; if there is not one, walk off the road, facing traffic, staying as far away from vehicles as possible.When two drivers stop at the same time? ›
If you have any concern, wait for traffic to pass before you turn left. At intersections not controlled by signs or signals, or where two or more drivers stop at STOP signs at the same time and they are at right angles, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right.Who goes first when multiple cars are stopped at a four way stop? ›
First to arrive, first to go
The first car to pull up to the stop sign is the first car that gets to proceed. If cars are all stopping at the intersection at different times, each should proceed through in the order they arrived. It doesn't matter which direction a car is going either.
Slow down to an appropriate speed so you have time to stop if necessary. Scan the nearby area for pedestrians and vehicles – remember that pedestrians are harder to see and can be hidden from view behind objects or vehicles. Yield the right-of-way to traffic already in the intersection.Which of the following is true about the right-of-way? ›
Laws do not specify who has the right-of-way, only who does not. At a four-way stop, if multiple drivers arrive at once, the driver on the left should yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right. Drivers should yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians when turning right or left.Who should a driver always yield the right of way to? ›
Traffic Control. When at or approaching traffic signals or signs, yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other nearby vehicles that may have the right-of-way.Should the driver on the left yield the right of way? ›
When you are turning left, you must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. At a four-way stop, drivers arriving at the same time should yield the right of way to the driver on the right. Who must yield at T-intersections? At a T-intersection, the right of way belongs to the drivers on the through street.When should you always keep to the right of a multi lane road except when? ›
All vehicles in motion upon a highway having two or more lanes of traffic proceeding in the same direction shall be driven in the right-hand lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when preparing to make a proper left turn or when otherwise directed by traffic markings, signs, or signals.What happens when 12 vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time? ›
When multiple vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, the vehicle to right has the thumbs up to go. This applies to any number of cars, the left must always yield to the right, and continue to do so until it is their turn. Whenever in doubt, just remember: right is always right.What should you do if 2 vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop on the same time group of answer choices? ›
Explanation In general, vehicles at a four-way stop should proceed in the order that they arrive. However, if two vehicles arrive to the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
It is important to note that the intended use of a 4-way stop is to enhance overall intersection safety and/or efficiency. If you would like to request a new traffic signal, contact Leslie Tracey by email or at 919-560-4366, ext.What are the rules of the right away if you arrive at a four-way stop intersection at the same time as another user on your right? ›
If you arrive at any intersection with a 4-way stop at the same time someone else pulls up to their stop sign, the correct rule of the road is to let the driver on the right go first.Who goes first when multiple cars are stopped at a four-way stop quizlet? ›
At a four-way stop, the driver reaching the intersection first goes first (after coming to a complete stop.) If more than one vehicle arrives at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first.Who goes first in an all 4 intersection if all 4 cars come at the same time? ›
If all four drivers arrive at the intersection at the same time, the drivers who plan on going straight are allowed to proceed through the intersection first. If all four drivers are turning right at the intersection, they may proceed simultaneously.Who goes first at a 4-way stop Ontario? ›
At an intersection with stop signs at all corners, you must yield the right-of-way to the first vehicle to come to a complete stop. If two vehicles stop at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right (Diagram 2-19).Does a pedestrian have the right-of-way in Ontario? ›
When Do Pedestrians Have The Right-Of-Way? Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the street while the walk signal or countdown is on or when pedestrians are using a crossover. A crossover is a designated spot in Ontario where pedestrians can cross, although there are no traffic lights.What is failure to yield to a pedestrian in Ontario? ›
Drivers may be guilty of “failure to yield to a pedestrian” if they do not stop and yield the roadway to pedestrians where pedestrian traffic may legally use the road.What if 4 cars arrive at the same time? ›
When multiple vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, the vehicle to right has the thumbs up to go. This applies to any number of cars, the left must always yield to the right, and continue to do so until it is their turn. Whenever in doubt, just remember: right is always right.What is the point of no return driving? ›
One rule of thumb is that if you are 100 feet or less from the intersection, you have passed “the point of no return” and cannot safely stop before the intersection. Therefore, it is best to continue at your current, legal speed through the intersection, but being very cautious as you pass through.Do I have to wait for the pedestrian to completely cross Ontario? ›
FAQs about Pedestrian Crossings
Upon approaching a crossover with the lights flashing, you must stop your vehicle prior to the markings on the roadway. You must stay stopped until the pedestrian is fully off the roadway.
Drivers must stop their vehicles for pedestrians and not proceed until the pedestrian is off the roadway. Drivers must not pass a vehicle that is already stopped at a pedestrian crossover. Drivers must not pass a moving vehicle that is within 30 metres of a crossover.What is the new Ontario law for pedestrian crossing? ›
In both types of crossings, with the implementation of the new crosswalk rule, drivers are required to wait until pedestrians clear the roadway completely before advancing through the area. In the past, drivers were not required to wait until pedestrians were completely off the road.When must drivers yield to a pedestrian answer? ›
Answer: Motorists should yield the right of way to pedestrians who have lawfully started to cross the roadway or are otherwise in the crosswalk. At intersections with traffic lights, a driver must yield the right of way to a pedestrian when the pedestrian has entered the crosswalk and when the “walk” signal is on.Should you as a driver yield to pedestrians in any situation? ›
Give the right-of-way to any pedestrian or approaching vehicle that is close enough to be dangerous. Turning right: Always check for pedestrians crossing the street, and motorcycles and bicycles riding next to you. Green traffic signal light: Proceed with caution. Pedestrians have the right-of-way.Is failure to yield the right of way to another vehicle or pedestrian is the primary collision factor? ›
Failure to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle or pedestrian is the primary collision factor in about 20% of fatal and injury collisions in California.Which car should go first? ›
The California DMV handbook designates which vehicle or pedestrian has the right-of-way under various traffic conditions. At standard 4-way intersection, right-of-way first goes to any vehicles or pedestrians currently entering the intersection. Following that, right-of-way is given to the vehicle on your right.How long does green light last? ›
Balanced Signal Timing with Shorter Cycles
In the balanced scenario, the signals are re-timed with 60-second cycle lengths. The amount of green time at each minor intersection is apportioned in a 3:2 ratio (36 seconds for the major street, 24 for the minor).
Yellow lights are designed to help drivers make a safe decision when approaching an intersection – slow down and stop or to proceed through the intersection before the light turns red – and proper timing is essential.