Intersections and crosswalks are common places for motor vehicle accidents. Many collisions that take place at intersections, including serious bicycle and pedestrian crashes, occur due to a driver failing to yield the right-of-way. Understanding New Mexico’s right-of-way laws can help keep you safe while walking or biking in Albuquerque. It can also help you avoid causing a crash as a motor vehicle driver.
What Is the Right-of-Way?
The right-of-way means the legal right to proceed across a road. Right-of-way laws exist in all 50 states to help keep traffic flowing smoothly and prevent collisions between cross-traffic. All roadway users, including motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, have a responsibility to know and obey New Mexico’s right-of-way laws. Failing to do so can result in preventable accidents, especially at stop signs and intersections. Violating the right-of-way puts a driver at risk of colliding with other roadway users.
How Does the Right-of-Way Work at a Stop Sign or Intersection?
It is especially important for roadway users to understand New Mexico’s right-of-way laws at intersections. According to New Mexico Statutes Section 66-7-330, the driver of a vehicle who is approaching a stop sign must come to a complete stop and yield the right-of-way to any vehicle that has entered the intersection from another road or is approaching closely enough as to constitute an immediate hazard.
In other words, every driver must yield to other drivers that approached the intersection first. If two drivers approach an intersection at the same time, the driver on the left will yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right. If the intersection has a traffic control sign, such as a stoplight, all drivers must obey the signal instead. In this case, a driver will only have the right-of-way if he or she receives the steady green light.
Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way in Albuquerque?
Right-of-way laws are especially vital for the road’s most vulnerable road users: pedestrians. When a pedestrian is involved, the failure to yield the right-of-way can easily be deadly. In New Mexico, pedestrians are subject to the same traffic control signals at intersections as motor vehicle drivers. This means that they must wait for the walk signal to proceed across an intersection.
In all other circumstances, however, pedestrians have the right-of-way in New Mexico. At crosswalks and intersections, motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. A driver must come to a stop for a pedestrian that is crossing his or her half of the crosswalk. It is illegal to pass another car that is stopped for a crossing pedestrian at a crosswalk. Drivers should be especially careful in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, such as school zones and residential areas.
Pedestrians should not cross the road at any point other than within a crosswalk or intersection. A pedestrian cannot leave the safety of a curb and step out into oncoming traffic if a vehicle is close enough as to constitute an immediate hazard and the driver cannot reasonably come to a stop. Even if a pedestrian is violating the right-of-way law, a motorist has the responsibility to stop if there is time to do so and wait for the pedestrian to cross the road.
Did a Driver Fail to Yield You the Right-of-Way?
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in New Mexico because another driver failed to yield you the right-of-way in accordance with state law, you may be entitled to financial compensation from that driver’s auto insurance provider.
Consult with a car accident attorney in Albuquerque right away to discuss your legal rights and options. An attorney can help you negotiate for maximum financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Your lawyer can do this by helping you prove that the other driver or party violated New Mexico’s right-of-way laws.