Right of Way in Texas: Who Has the Right of Way On The Road?

Right of Way in Texas: Who Has the Right of Way On The Road?

Have you ever wondered who actually has the right of way on Texas roads? As a Texas driver, knowing the rules of the road is critical for safe travel and avoiding accidents. The right of way laws in Texas determine which vehicle proceeds first in various situations. If you've been in a car accident recently due to confusion over who should go first, you're not alone. Many drivers don't fully understand their responsibilities and rights when it comes to yielding. However, by learning a few key rules, you'll gain confidence navigating intersections, turning, changing lanes, and more. Discussing your case with a texas car accident lawyer is always a good idea. 

What Is Right of Way in Texas?

In Texas, the rules of the road determine who has the right of way in any driving situation. Basically, it comes down to who arrives first and who yields to whom. But there are a few specifics you should know.


Pedestrians always have the right of way in Texas. As a driver, you must stop and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections. This includes people walking, jogging or biking. Failure to yield to a pedestrian can result in traffic tickets, legal liability, or even criminal charges if an injury occurs.

Emergency Vehicles

Pull over and yield to emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens on like ambulances, police cars or fire trucks. Get out of their way as quickly and safely as possible so they can respond to emergencies.

Stop Signs/Red Lights

At stop signs and red lights, the first vehicle to arrive and come to a complete stop has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the driver on the right yields to the driver on the left. At a four-way stop, continue in a clockwise direction.

Changing Lanes/Merging

When changing lanes or merging into traffic, drivers must yield to vehicles already in that lane. This includes on highways, streets and when entering freeways. The key is to find an opening in traffic, signal your intention, and accelerate to match the speed of other vehicles. If another driver has to suddenly brake or swerve due to your lane change, you likely did not properly yield.

Knowing the rules of right of way can help prevent accidents, traffic tickets and legal issues. When in doubt, it's always best to yield to other vehicles and proceed cautiously. Safe driving!

Do Vehicles Have The Right of Way Over Pedestrians In Texas?

In Texas, vehicles and pedestrians share the road, but who has the right of way? As a driver, it's important to understand pedestrian right of way laws to avoid accidents and legal trouble.

No, vehicles must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. When a pedestrian is crossing at an intersection with walk signals or in a marked crosswalk, drivers must stop and wait until the pedestrian has fully crossed the road. Failure to yield is illegal and can result in traffic tickets or even criminal charges if an accident occurs.

What about when there are no crosswalks? Even without marked crosswalks, drivers should exercise caution and be prepared to stop for pedestrians. While vehicles have the legal right of way on roads without crosswalks, they still must take reasonable care to avoid hitting pedestrians. Drivers should slow down when pedestrians are present and stop if needed to prevent an accident. Hitting a pedestrian, even without a crosswalk, can still lead to legal liability.

The bottom line is that pedestrians always deserve extra caution. As vehicle operators, we must make safety a priority over expedience. Following the rules of the road is important, but human life is invaluable. So next time you're driving, keep an eye out for walkers and be ready to stop. It could save a life and keep you out of legal trouble. Sharing our roads means looking out for one another. If we all do our part, everyone gets home safe.

Exceptions: When Pedestrians Have Right of Way

In Texas, pedestrians typically have the right of way when using marked crosswalks and sidewalks. However, there are a few exceptions to be aware of:

Emergency Vehicles

When an emergency vehicle like an ambulance or fire truck is responding to an emergency call, they have the right of way. As a pedestrian, you must yield to these vehicles by stopping and waiting for them to pass before continuing to cross the street. Failure to do so could result in legal penalties.

School Busses

School busses also have the right of way over pedestrians. When a school bus stops to load or unload children, all traffic - including pedestrians - must stop. Do not cross in front of a stopped school bus, as children may be crossing the road. Wait for the bus to continue moving before walking in front of it.

Obey Traffic Signals

As a pedestrian, you must obey all traffic signals and walk signs at intersections. If you cross against the light or in a way that impedes traffic flow, you forfeit your right of way. Cross only when you have the "walk" signal and do so carefully by watching for turning vehicles.

Construction Zones

In construction areas, follow instructions from construction crews regarding pedestrian access and right of way. Their directions will supersede normal traffic laws to ensure safety in the work zone. Exercise caution, follow posted signs and any instructions from crews on-site.

By following these exceptions, you'll help ensure your own safety as a pedestrian in Texas. Be courteous to drivers and share the road responsibly. Remember that while you have the right of way in many situations, larger vehicles are more difficult to stop - so cross with care. Following the rules of the road applies to all who use it.

Common Right of Way Confusions in Texas

Common right of way confusions often lead to accidents in Texas. As a driver, it’s important to understand who has the right of way in different situations to avoid collisions.


At intersections without traffic lights or stop signs, the vehicle on the right has the right of way. This means if two vehicles approach an intersection at the same time, the one on the right goes first. However, if a vehicle is already in the intersection, it has the right of way over vehicles entering the intersection.

Changing Lanes

When changing lanes, the vehicle in the lane you want to enter has the right of way. You must yield to traffic in that lane before moving over. Don’t assume other drivers will make room for you or that you have an open spot to change lanes. Always check your mirrors and blind spots, signal your intent, and make sure the adjacent lane is clear before changing lanes.


Similar to changing lanes, when merging onto a highway or merging into traffic, you must yield to vehicles already on the roadway. Speed up or slow down as needed to find an opening in traffic, then merge smoothly into the flow of vehicles while maintaining your speed. Don't stop or slow dramatically, as this can disrupt traffic and increase the chance of a rear end accident in Texas.

Emergency Vehicles

In the event of emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens approaching, all traffic must yield the right of way. Pull over to the side of the road as far as possible and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle is illegal and can result in traffic tickets or fines.

Following the rules of the road and understanding right of way in various situations will help reduce confusion, prevent accidents, and ensure safe travel for all drivers sharing Texas highways and roads. Defensive driving and courtesy go a long way toward avoiding collisions and traffic violations.

What to Do if You Are in a Right of Way Dispute

If you find yourself in a dispute over right of way in Texas, don’t panic. Try to remain calm and courteous, even if the other driver is not. Follow these steps to handle the situation properly:

Stop Safely

Pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Turn on your hazard lights and make sure both vehicles are visible to oncoming traffic and not blocking the roadway. Exchange information with the other driver including names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, insurance details, and driver’s license information.

Call the Police

Notify local law enforcement about the incident and request that an officer comes to file an official police report. Explain the situation objectively to the responding officer. Get the report number for your records and insurance claims.

Document the Scene

Take photos of the vehicles involved, license plates, any traffic signs or signals, and the surrounding area. Get contact information for any witnesses. All of this evidence may be useful for determining fault and liability later on.

Contact Insurance Providers

Call your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to report the accident and dispute. Provide them with the details of the incident including the police report number. National insurance carriers such as Nationwide Insurance will have a process for getting claims started. Follow their instructions for the next steps to take regarding claims, repairs, or legal counsel.

Consult an Attorney

For complicated disputes, it is wise to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer or car accident attorney in Texas. An advocate with experience with the larger insurance carriers nationally such as Progressive Insurance and Allstate Insurance injury cases. They can review the details of your specific case, determine if you have grounds to pursue legal action, and represent you if needed. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations.

Staying safe, following procedure, and seeking proper counsel are the keys to resolving a right of way dispute in Texas. Do your part to gather information at the scene, then let the authorities and legal professionals determine fault based on the state’s traffic laws.

Our Texas Car Accident Lawyers Are Here To Help

If you've been in an accident in Texas, you probably have a lot of questions about your legal rights and who is at fault. Our experienced Texas personal injury lawyers are here to help guide you through the process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Determining Fault

In Texas, the person responsible for causing an accident is typically required to pay for resulting damages and injuries. To determine who is at fault, police and insurance companies will consider things like:

  • Who had the right of way according to traffic laws
  • Whether any traffic control devices like stop signs or traffic lights were obeyed
  • If speeding or reckless driving was involved
  • Any witness statements about the events leading up to the crash

Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into your accident to establish liability and build a strong case to prove who was at fault. We deal with insurance companies and their adjusters regularly and know how to counter their tactics to deny or diminish claims.

Seeking Compensation

If another driver is found responsible for your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for:

We will fight to recover all damages and losses resulting from your accident. Our goal is to take the burden off of you so you can focus on your recovery. Let our experienced injury lawyers handle the legal details while you get your life back to normal.

Don't go through this difficult time alone. Call our office today for a free consultation about your rights and legal options. We're here to help in any way we can.


So there you have it. Now you know exactly who has the right of way on Texas roads and when. The rules seem pretty straightforward but as we all know, situations on the road can get complicated in a hurry. The most important things to remember are to pay attention, follow the rules of the road, and be courteous to other drivers and pedestrians. If we all do our part, the roads will be safer for everyone. And if the worst should happen and there's an accident, at least now you'll have a better understanding of how right of way applies. Let's all share the road and get where we're going safely.