A photo of a traffic roundabout, which is often a confusing place to figure right of way for drivers.

Who Has the Right of Way?

Whether you are driving, walking, or riding a bike, you share the roadways with others. Kentucky laws help direct travel on or near the roads. Understanding who has the right of way can reduce your risk of an accident.

Under Kentucky law, you have the right of way if you are:

  • An emergency vehicle using emergency lights and sirens. Other drivers must pull over to a stop allowing the emergency vehicle to proceed.
  • Traveling on the main road. Drivers approaching from a minor road must yield to those on the main road.
  • Proceeding straight. If you turn left, you must yield to all vehicles going straight or turning right, even bicycles.
  • The first driver at a four-way, three-way, or two-way stop. If two vehicles approach at the same time, drivers must yield to the driver on the right. 
  • Traveling in the roundabout. All drivers entering must yield to those already in the roundabout. 
  • Traveling on a highway.  Those merging on interstate on-ramps must yield to those already there.  Likewise, when exiting the interstate, you must yield to drivers already on the street you are exiting onto. 
  • A pedestrian. Generally, drivers must exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.  Even if a pedestrian is crossing the road without the right-of-way, a driver is responsible for reasonably preventing a collision.
  • A pedestrian crossing the road at any marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Pedestrians crossing the road somewhere other than a crosswalk or intersection must yield the right-of-way to all oncoming vehicle traffic.
  • A pedestrian walking on a sidewalk. It is illegal for a pedestrian to walk in the street when a sidewalk is available and practical.
  • Even if they have the right of way, no pedestrian can step off of a curb or place of safety into the path of oncoming vehicles when close enough to create an immediate hazard.

If you are unsure, assume you do not have the right of way. Remember, just because you know the rules of the road, other drivers may not. 

Picture of Angela Kniery

Angela Kniery

Angela Kniery is an attorney at Crocker Law Firm. In addition to writing, she has taught undergraduate business law classes and hosted a Think College webinar about college programs for young adults with intellectual disabilities. She is a photographer, an avid reader, and a proud mother of three.


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