It can be difficult to determine who has the right of way at an uncontrolled intersection in Georgia. Most people know what to do at a red light or stop sign, but what are you supposed to do when there are no stop signs and no lights?

What is the general rule?

Ordinarily, when two vehicles approach an intersection at the same time, the driver on the right has right of way over drivers on the left. This is the general rule per O.C.G.A. § 40-6-70, but there are multiple exceptions to this rule:

Exception 1: Dead-end Road

If a driver is on a road that ends at the intersection, that driver must yield right of way to other vehicles approaching the intersection at the same time.

In other words, if Driver A is traveling on a road that ends at the intersection with another road (picture a capital T), Driver A must yield right of way to any vehicle that approaches the intersection at the same time from the other road. It does not matter if the other vehicle approaches the intersection on the right or on the left of Driver A.

Exception 2: Non-functioning Traffic Light

If there is a traffic light but it is not working, each driver must come to a full stop at the intersection as if there were a stop sign at all four corners. In this case, drivers would then proceed in the order that each car arrived.

If cars arrived at the same time, the driver on the left does first.

Exception 3: Obstructing the Intersection

Even if a driver approaching an intersection would otherwise have the right of way, in certain situations, s/he cannot enter the intersection. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-205 prohibits the driver from entering the intersection if he cannot make it completely through the intersection without obstructing traffic for any vehicles or pedestrians.

In this situation, it is illegal for the driver to even enter the intersection until there is enough room on the opposite side of the intersection for his/her vehicle.

Exception 4: Emergency Vehicles and Law Enforcement Vehicles

Regardless of who may ordinarily have the right of way at an intersection, all vehicles must yield right of way to emergency vehicles and law enforcement vehicles. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-6. There are certain restrictions on this privilege for emergency vehicles and law enforcement vehicles. The vehicle must be either:

  • Responding to an emergency call, or
  • In pursuit of someone who is violating the law or is suspected of doing so, or
  • Responding to a fire alarm

Where can I get help if I have been injured in an intersection accident?

If you have been injured in an accident in an intersection — whether controlled or uncontrolled — and the accident was not totally your fault, you may have a claim for your damages. Contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. to discuss your legal options for recovering compensation. Call 404-474-0804 today for your free consultation.

Jason R. Schultz
Helping Georgia area residents with car accident, medical malpractice, and personal injury claims since 1991.