Pedestrian Walking Sign at a Busy IntersectionAll drivers in North Carolina are required to follow the state’s traffic laws. Right-of-way laws can be confusing, and you could face stiff penalties if you receive a traffic ticket for violating them in Charlotte.

What Are the Right-of-Way Rules for Drivers and Pedestrians?

Both drivers and pedestrians have obligations to yield the right of way and can receive a citation for disobeying these rules. Common laws that must be followed include:

  • Drivers must always yield the right of way to pedestrians.
  • If there are no traffic signals, pedestrians have the right of way in marked and unmarked crosswalks.
  • Both drivers and pedestrians must obey traffic signals.
  • Pedestrians crossing a street on a green light have the right of way.
  • If the light is turning from green to yellow or yellow to red and there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk, the driver must yield to him.
  • Blind pedestrians always have the right of way.
  • If an intersection is equipped with a “Walk” and “Do Not Walk” signal, the pedestrian has the right of way when they are crossing on a “Walk” signal—even if they do not have a green light.

Right-of-Way Laws Regarding Emergency Vehicles

North Carolina has strict laws on yielding the right of way to emergency vehicles. When police cars, fire engines, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles have their sirens on or their lights flashing, drivers are required to yield to them.

Intersection Right-of-Way Rules

The laws on the right-of-way in intersections are not always understood by motorists. Here are common ones that drivers must comply with:

  • If a vehicle is in the intersection, other drivers must give it the right of way.
  • When two drivers arrive at an unmarked intersection at the same time, the vehicle that is traveling straight has the right of way.
  • At a stop sign, drivers must yield to through traffic.
  • Drivers who are exiting a driveway must yield the right of way to vehicles on the road.

Penalties for Right-of-Way Violations

If you are ticketed for failure to yield the right of way, you will be assessed a $35 fine for failing to yield to motorists, $100 for failing to yield to a pedestrian, and $250 for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle and may also owe court costs. You will also have three demerit points for failure to yield to motorists or emergency vehicles and four demerit points for not yielding to a pedestrian added to your driving record.

While these penalties may not appear too severe, they can have long-term consequences on your auto insurance costs and may result in your driver’s license being suspended if you accumulate too many demerit points on your driving record. You need to consult with an experienced traffic law attorney before deciding whether it is in your best interests to fight the ticket. To learn how we can assist you, call our Charlotte office to schedule a free consultation.

Have you Received a Traffic Citation in Charlotte, NC?

If you received a traffic citation, you need to speak with an experienced traffic ticket attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.


Howard W. Long, II
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Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer
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