“I have the right of way.” We’ve heard it time and time again—often from motorists who have a penchant for driving straight through intersections in the absence of a stoplight. Yes, right of way means you can go ahead and cross, but are you entirely sure it’s really you who has it?
Basically, right of way determines whether or not a driver can proceed, or should give way to a fellow motorist. Here are a few important things you should always keep in mind regarding the rules of right of way:
1) If a vehicle arrives at an intersection before you, it has the right of way.
No, speed doesn’t determine who has right of way, buddy. If you see that a fellow driver is already waiting at an intersection before you get there, the proper move would be to yield—not speed up to get ahead.
2) If two cars get to an intersection at the same time, the one to the right has right of way.
So both of you reach the intersection simultaneously. If the other driver is crossing from the right side, you must give way.
3) When turning left at intersections, you will only have right of way if you use your turn signal at least 30 meters before reaching the intersection.
If there are cars arriving or already too close to the intersection, give allowance or make a full stop and let them pass.
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4) At roundabouts or when merging onto a highway, if a car has made a full stop on a side street prior to merging, it has right of way.
If you are merging or entering a roundabout, let any cars already within the intersection pass first before proceeding.
5) Give way to emergency vehicles.
No, that siren doesn’t mean it’s opening up traffic for you to tag along behind it. If you spot an emergency vehicle, get to the right side of the road and wait until it has passed. This is a rule that many drivers stuck in traffic disregard entirely.
6) Give way when pulling out of your driveway and driving into a public road.
You must always yield to passing cars on a public road. They have the right of way.
7) Pedestrians have right of way.
Always yield to a person who is crossing the street. If a vehicle is stopped in front of you to let a pedestrian cross, don’t overtake it even if your light turns green. You must wait for the individual to make it to the other side before proceeding.
All right, we know some of these rules are near-impossible to follow because Manila’s roads are chaotic, but try to set an example. Just because the jeepneys, buses, or other motorists don’t follow them doesn’t mean these rules aren’t there. Society will thank you for it.