Does using a blinker when driving change right of way?

Imagine a 4 way stop light.
One car is heading south, one is heading north.
Each one has on their left turn blinker.

If both cars were turning, they would normally execute their turns at the same time.

If the southbound car doesn’t turn, but continued south through the intersection, still with their blinker on. The northbound car turns left, assuming that the southbound car is turning, and the 2 cars collide.

Is the northbound car at fault, because the non-turning car always has right of way on a green light? Or is the southbound car at fault, because they were signalling a left turn, but didn’t execute one.

Yes, it happened to me last night. I was the northbound car. Thankfully we were both moving slow enough to avoid an accident, but boy did I get some dirty looks from the southbound car.

The car not going where the signal indicates would be at fault in the jurisdictions I’m familiar with. But, it’s gonna be a he-said she-said scenerio so it’s tough to prove fault in such cases.

But, I’ve seen the exact same thing cause an accident in which I was involved…guy with a turn signal didn’t turn and hit me and a police officer. So I didn’t have to prove anything as the cop’s word is not easy to contest.

I did that once too and was narrowly missed (as the turning car). I think the turning car is going to end up at fault, the blinker just signals that they’re turning, not where they’re turning. So even if you could prove the blinker was on it’s probably meaningless unless you’re at an intersection where there’s no where else they could have been turning. In my case they were actually planning to turn left behind me into the 7-11 parking lot, not the street where I was waiting to turn.

Edit: Or maybe if they took some other action like being in the turning lane or starting the turn and then changing their mind, they’d be at fault. I don’t think the blinker alone is enough.

Be a defensive driver and assume people with their blinkers on are just playing loud music and don’t realize it’s on from an earlier turn.

Always drive defensively. That way when you encounter a vehicle with its blinker on and the driver fails to turn, you will know the driver is wearing blinkers, and you didn’t blink when when the tough decision had to be made.

Do you have a cite for this? This seems almost certainly wrong. When you cross a lane of traffic it is your responsibility to make sure it is clear. In drivers ed we were told repeatedly to never trust a directional.

Turn signals have no affect on right of way. Zero. Zilch.

There are two questions. Right of way, and fault. It is very unlikey that any road rules will change the notion of right of way with blinkers. Blinkers signal intent. Your intent doesn’t change your right to do something.

The situation described is symmetric, so the rights of way as they exist are symmetric. Most road rules provide the right of way to the car that does not turn. So if one car does not turn they had right of way. Blinkers mostly don’t help. But you get into the question of fault. If the car slowed down, with its blinker on, and looked as if it was turning, then went straight?

Most places, when it comes to working out the money have some idea of an allocation of fault. Where I am, the only accident where you are automatically deemed to be 100% at fault is rear ending someone. (And even then things get odd - a car at the traffic lights on a slope rolled back into me a few months ago. In court I would have almost zero chance of proving I didn’t drift into him. Luckily minimal damage) So in your situation fault might be split, especially if it there were witnesses. If it were deemed that the car that turned had a reasonable expectation that the other was actually signalling its intention. But just a blinker would probably get no more than a 90/10 split.

As above, always assume the other car is being driven by an idiot.

I always like to think about the odds. We drive cars every day. If you turn in front of a car indicating a turn, like the above situation, once a day, and there is a one in a thousand chance the other driver simply didn’t notice his blinker was on, you will have an accident once every three years.

I have lived in Maryland, Michigan, Virginia, and Florida and to the best of my knowledge in each of those places you are required to signal at least 100 ft prior to making a turn but there is no prohibition against signaling when you will not make a turn.

Right-of-way rules tends to work against the person who must yield even if the other party is doing something stupid. (Also, the laws tend to specify who must yield, rather than assigning immutable right-of-way.)

Here are two anecdotes. I knew the faulted driver in both cases.

A driver approaches an intersection and waits to turn left. He creeps into the intersection and awaits a gap. The light turns yellow, then red, then he completes his turn. A driver coming the opposite direction going straight runs the red light and broadsides my friend. My friend was found by a judge to be at fault for failing to yield because he was turning left, even though the other driver ran the light. (Maryland)

A driver waiting to turn right looks to the left and sees a car coming but it is in a right-turn-only lane and must turn before it reaches the intersection. My friend pulls out, and then it broadsided by the driver who decided to go straight. My friend is found at fault by a judge for failing to yield when making a turn, even though the other driver went straight from a right-turn lane. (Mayland)

Now, it must be said that either of these cases might have been decided differently by different judges, but if you are going to turn you have to yield to pretty much anything else coming along.

In Michigan I rear-ended someone and was found 0% at fault, and 0% negligent by all parties involved. Of course the fault was attributed to the person who drove the car that caused the car I rear-ended to stop virtually instantly.

[quote=“CookingWithGas, post:8, topic:517477”]

A driver waiting to turn right looks to the left and sees a car coming but it is in a right-turn-only lane and must turn before it reaches the intersection. My friend pulls out, and then it broadsided by the driver who decided to go straight. My friend is found at fault by a judge for failing to yield when making a turn, even though the other driver went straight from a right-turn lane. (Mayland)

This stuns me. And the oposite happend to my father. He was in a right turn only lane, hit some one when he did not turn and was found at fault. Completely his fault IMHO (Colorado)

At the very least, the person that did not obey the Right turn only signage and road striping is guilty of ilegal lane use. I would also say in some cases, reckless.

What if a person was in a right turn lane, and decieded to go straight? Crossed the solid white line and got rear ended. I would again say illegal lane usage.

I am surprised that your friend was found at fault.

Even more strength to my borderline-overly-cautious driving style. My fiance, especially, makes fun of me when I check, double check and sometimes triple check before making turns. I almost never go at the same time as another person at a stop sign. I wait my turn and go by myself. Even if the car directly opposite me (going the opposite direction) seems to be going straight, and I’m going straight, I’ll wait. You never know when that douche will remember that he needed to turn left and end up broadsiding me. Sure, he’ll be at fault, but shoot, I don’t wanna deal with it.

I’ve had a driver’s license in eight states and ALL of them said in the handbook that the rules of the road don’t tell you who has the right of way, only who should yield the right of way.

You can argue that the southbound car should have yielded the right of way, but the fact is that if he didn’t yield it, he still had it. Even if his signal was intentional, signaling intent to yield the right of way is not the same as actually yielding it.

We all were, but I wasn’t at the scene or in the courtroom, so I don’t know everything that happened. I just know the story as told by my friend.

In every jurisdiction I am familiar with, rear ending someone is prima facie evidence of failing to maintain an adequate following distance. You should count yourself lucky that you managed to get out of that one.

If someone pulls out in front of you and slams on their brakes and you hit them. It is their fault. They where not leaving enough distance between vehicles. A good driver will predict the actions of idiots.

35 years on the road every day, and I have never been in an accident.

Not lucky; completely logical. If the woman that had caused the accident performed a U-turn in front of me causing me to rear-end her (instead of getting T-boned by the person in front of me), I’d have been equally exculpated.

This seems really unfair. He’s already in the intersection, the light’s changing, he has nowhere to go … he has to complete his turn. The only alternative would be to wait for the through driver (who runs the red) to make sure he comes to a complete stop. If he does that, he’s standing in the middle of the intersection, very likely to be hit by the cross traffic as they proceed on green. I think the judge’s decision stinks. I would have appealed that.

Also unfair. If you’re in a right-turn-only lane, other drivers should reasonably expect you to be turning right.

I don’t understand what happened. Even if the car in front of you crashes and stops instantly, or somebody pulls out in front of them and forces them to stop instantly or whatever, I thought you would STILL be at fault for rear-ending them because you are supposed to be leaving enough distance between you and the car in front of you to allow you to stop in case a situation like this occurs.

Certainly that’s how it has played out in my experience – the rear-ender always gets the ticket, unless maybe the people in front were pulling some kind of scam and deliberately trying to force that person to crash, and maybe even then.

Well, how much space should you leave? You could follow the three second rule. At 50 miles per hour, you’re looking at 100 feet in three seconds. If the car in front of you comes to a dead stop because it collided with an immovable object, and the braking distance of a 2000 Honda Civic is 60-0 in 146 feet, then a “safe distance” is never safe. Okay, the Civic was an '88 (couldn’t find the specs), and the speed was 50 mph instead of 60 mph, and the recommended surface road following distance is 2 seconds instead of 3, so I think we can all agree that even a “safe distance” is never safe unless common sense is taken into account. In my case, the police, my insurance company, and the victim’s insurance company all had common sense. There was no discussion, inquiry, court challenge, or anything.