(State of Colorado)


7. Rules of the road


7.2. Right of way

Where vehicles or pedestrians meet one another, and there are no signs or signals to regulate traffic, there are rules that say who must yield the right-of-way. These rules tell drivers who goes first and who must wait in different traffic situations.

The law states who must yield the right-of-way; it does not give anyone the right-of-way, even if your traffic signal is green. You must do everything you can to prevent striking a pedestrian or another vehicle, regardless of the circumstances.

PEDESTRIANS: When driving, you should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians under all conditions. Be particularly watchful for children, elderly and blind persons. Most blind persons are easily recognized by the white cane they carry and/or by their guide dog.

Pedestrians have the right-of-way at all intersections and crosswalks. Drivers must come to a complete stop and let the person pass safely.

BICYCLES: Bicycles on the road are considered "vehicles" and have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles.

4-WAY STOP: You must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle that reached the intersection first. When more than one vehicle reaches the intersection at the same time the vehicle on the left must yield the right-of-way and allow the vehicle on the right to go first.

UNCONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS: When more than one vehicle reaches an uncontrolled intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right and allow the vehicle on the right to go first.

TURNING LEFT: You must yield to all oncoming traffic.

CHANGING LANES and PASSING: You must yield the right-of-way to vehicles already occupying the lane you wish to enter or use for passing. Do not change lanes if another vehicle must slow down for you.

MERGING: You must yield to all vehicles on that roadway. Do not merge if another vehicle must slow down for you.

BACKING: You must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles close enough to be a hazard.

NARROW MOUNTAIN ROADWAY: When vehicles meet on a steep, narrow road which is not wide enough for two vehicles, the vehicle going downhill must yield the right-of-way by backing up to a wider place or by stopping to leave sufficient space for the vehicle going uphill, except where it is more practicable for the vehicle going uphill to return to a wider space or turnout.

EMERGENCY VEHICLES: You must yield the right-of-way to all emergency vehicles using a siren, air horn, and/or flashing red, blue or white lights. Where possible, you must pull over to the right edge of the road. If you are in an intersection, drive through the intersection before you pull over. On a roadway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction, if you are approaching an emergency vehicle that has stopped along the side of the road, when possible you must leave at least one lane between your vehicle and the emergency vehicle by changing lanes, unless directed otherwise by a police officer or emergency personnel or conditions prohibit the lane change. If the road only has one lane on your side, or you cannot change lanes, slow down to a safe speed and use due care and caution as you pass.

MAINTENANCE VEHICLES: Yield the right-of-way to service vehicles and maintenance equipment engaged in work upon the roads using flashing yellow and blue warning lights. Use extra caution in approaching, overtaking, or passing maintenance vehicles and snow plows. Because of their traveling speed and size, snowplows tend to create large clouds of blowing snow that conceal the plow, making it invisible.

SCHOOL BUS: You must stop for a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing whether it is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road, or at an intersection you are approaching.

You must remain stopped until the flashing red lights are no longer operating. Watch carefully for children near the school bus and children crossing the roadway before proceeding.

You are not required to stop if the bus is traveling toward you on a roadway that is separated by a median or other physical barrier.

ROAD WORK/CONSTRUCTION ZONE: You must yield the right-of-way to all workers and construction and construction vehicles. Drivers are responsible for knowing how to read and react to work zone directional signs, roadway markings, and flagpersons. Normal speed limits are reduced for safety reasons and are clearly marked. Reduce speed, adjust lane position away from workers, and prepare for the unexpected. Failure to comply can result in double fines for certain violations.


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