701.Deﬁnition of Right-of-Way
When the law requires a [driver/pedestrian] to “yield the right-of-way”
to [another/a] [vehicle/pedestrian], this means that the
[driver/pedestrian] must let the [other] [vehicle/pedestrian] go ﬁrst.
Even if someone has the right-of-way, that person must use reasonable
care to avoid an accident.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
This instruction should be given following a reading of the appropriate Vehicle
If the case involves a statutory right-of-way, the jury could also be given
instructions on negligence per se, if applicable.
Sources and Authority
• “Right of Way” Deﬁned. Vehicle Code section 525.
• Intersection Right of Way. Vehicle Code section 21800.
• Left Turn Right of Way. Vehicle Code section 21801.
• Approaching Entrance to Intersection. Vehicle Code section 21802.
• Intersection Controlled by Yield Right-of-Way Sign. Vehicle Code section
• Entry onto Highway. Vehicle Code section 21804.
• Equestrian Crossings. Vehicle Code section 21805.
• Authorized Emergency Vehicles. Vehicle Code section 21806.
• “Right of way rules have been described as simply establishing ‘a practical
basis for necessary courtesy on the highway.’ ” (Eagar v. McDonnell Douglas
Corp. (1973) 32 Cal.App.3d 116, 122 [107 Cal.Rptr. 819].)
• “[A] driver entering a public highway from private property who collides with a
vehicle traveling on the public road is not necessarily liable for a violation of
[Vehicle Code] section 21804. Rather, the driver violates this section only if he
or she fails to act as a ‘ “reasonably prudent and cautious [person].” ’ Whether
the driver failed to so act is a question of fact for the trier of fact to decide.”
(Spriesterbach v. Holland (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 255, 266 [155 Cal.Rptr.3d
306], internal citation omitted.)
• “Of course, even if [defendant] had the right of way, he had a duty to exercise
reasonable care to avoid an accident, and the jury was so instructed.” (Eagar,
supra, 32 Cal.App.3d. at p. 123, fn. 3, internal citation omitted.)