Right of Way Laws in Florida

According to Florida’s Crash Facts Report, the second-most common cause of traffic accidents happens when a driver fails to yield the right of way. This traffic violation led to car accidents that caused over 400 fatalities and 40,000 injuries in 2020.

The risks of failing to yield go beyond the injuries drivers cause. Violators could face a traffic citation or even criminal charges for reckless driving. They may also bear liability for the injuries and property damage they cause.

When Florida Drivers Must Yield the Right of Way

Florida grants jurisdiction to many parties, including cities, counties, and homeowners’ associations, to set up traffic signs to reduce the risk of intersection accidents. Regardless of which entity sets up the sign, drivers must follow Florida’s laws that tell them when to yield the right of way. These laws include:

Traffic Lights

A driver facing a green light has the right of way at a traffic light unless they are turning. If they are turning, they must yield the right of way to vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians proceeding straight through the intersection.

Drivers facing a yellow or red light must not enter the intersection. If they are already in the intersection, they can continue when they have the right of way. Drivers with red lights can turn right after yielding to any pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles with the right of way in cross-traffic.

Stop or Yield Signs

Drivers must follow posted traffic signs. At a two-way stop, drivers with the stop sign must yield the right of way to drivers without stop signs. When encountering a yield sign, drivers must slow down or stop to yield to oncoming traffic.

Drivers must yield the right of way to any other driver who arrives before them at a four-way stop. If drivers reach the intersection simultaneously, the driver to the right has the right of way.

Left Turns Between Intersections

When a driver wants to turn left across traffic, the driver must yield the right of way to vehicles approaching in the opposite direction.

Uncontrolled Intersections

At an uncontrolled intersection, the vehicle to arrive first has the right of way. If vehicles arrive simultaneously, the driver to the left must yield to the one on the right.

Inoperative Traffic Lights

Intersections with inoperative flashing traffic lights must treat the intersection like a two-way or four-way stop, depending on the color of the flashing lights. If the lights are not flashing, drivers must yield as if it were a four-way stop.

Private Roads and Driveways

When entering a road from a private road or driveway, drivers must stop before crossing the sidewalk. They must yield the right of way to pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles approaching from the right or left.


Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians in marked crosswalks. Pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk.

Consequences of Failing To Yield the Right-of-Way in Florida

Police officers can issue a traffic citation for failing to yield the right of way when Florida law requires it. The penalty for a non-criminal moving violation like failing to yield the right of way includes a $60 fine plus administrative and court fees.

Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) imposes three points on a driver’s record for failing to yield. Drivers who receive 12 or more points in 12 months will have their licenses suspended by FLHSMV.

Florida uses no-fault car insurance. This means fault does not matter for minor crashes. But the liability for crashes that produce significant, permanent injuries falls on the driver who failed to yield.

Compensation for Florida Crashes Caused By a Failure To Yield

Under a doctrine called negligence per se, a violation of Florida’s right-of-way laws can help you prove that the other driver acted negligently. If you were injured in a crash when someone else failed to yield, you might be entitled to compensation to pay medical bills and cover lost wages.

Contact the Pinellas County Personal Injury Lawyers At Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
24 hours
(727) 796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
24 hours
(727) 349-1728