Sharing the Road
This section of the Florida Driver Handbook covers Right of Way on Florida highways, the Turnpike, and other roads. Right of way can be a confusing in situation such as 4 way stops, flashing red lights, and flashing yellow lights.
This section of the Florida Driver Handbook include:
Right of Way
Who has the right-of-way in Florida? The answer is no one! The law only says who must yield (give up) the right-of-way. Every driver, motorcyclist, moped rider, bicyclist and pedestrian must do everything possible to avoid a crash.
You must yield the right-of-way to all other traffic and pedestrians at stop signs. Move forward only when the road is clear. At four-way stops, the first vehicle to stop should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right.
An open intersection is one without traffic control signs or signals. When you enter one, you must yield the right-of-way if:
- A vehicle is already in the intersection.
- You enter or cross a state highway from a secondary road.
- You enter a paved road from an unpaved road.
- You plan to make a left turn and a vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction.
When two cars enter an open intersection at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right.
Roundabouts are a new type of intersection which improve traffic flow and reduce traffic crashes. Most roundabouts do not require stopping, which allows vehicles to move continuously through intersections at the same low speed. Roundabouts are designed to move all traffic through a counterclockwise direction. Vehicles approaching the roundabout yield to circulating traffic, however, drivers must obey all signs to determine the correct right-of-way in the roundabout.
Safety Rules for Pedestrians
- Look to the left and the right before stepping off any curb.
- Cross only at intersections or designated crosswalks. Drivers are always more alert for pedestrians when they approach intersections.
- Cross with the green light or "WALK" signal. Make sure you have enough time to cross. Although the motorist must yield, the motorist may not see you in time.
- While walking along a highway, always walk on the shoulder on the left side, facing traffic. Wear light colored clothing or use a flashlight to make you more visible to drivers at night.
It is the motorist's responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with any pedestrians. Bicyclists, skaters and skateboarders in a crosswalk or driveway are considered pedestrians. Turning motorists must yield to pedestrians at intersections with traffic signals. Motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing the street or driveway at any marked mid-block crossing, driveway or intersection without traffic signals.
In Florida, the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists using a public roadway are considered operators of motor vehicles and are responsible for observing traffic laws. With few exceptions, there is only one road and it is up to motorists and bicyclists to treat each other with care and respect. Adherence to the law is the foundation of respect.
The primary traveling aids for a person who is blind are often a white cane or a trained guide dog. Independent travel involves some risk that can be greatly reduced when you, the driver, are aware of the use and meaning of a white cane or guide dog.
Drivers must always yield the right-of-way to persons who are blind. When a pedestrian is crossing a street or highway guided by a dog or carrying a white cane (or a white cane with a red tip), vehicles must come to a complete stop.
Drivers must yield the right-of-way to mobility-impaired persons and pedestrians utilizing the assistance of a guide dog or service animal. When a pedestrian is crossing a public street or highway and the pedestrian is using a walker, a crutch, or an orthopedic cane or wheelchair, vehicles must come to a complete stop.
On a two way street or highway, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a stopped school bus which is picking up or dropping off children. You must always stop if you are moving in the same direction as the bus and you must remain stopped until the bus stop signal is withdrawn.
If the highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, you do not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus. Painted lines or pavement markings are not considered barriers. You must always stop if you are moving in the same direction as the bus and you must continue until the bus stop signal is withdrawn.
Crossing guards are posted in areas when it is unsafe for children to cross alone. When you see a guard, reduce your speed. You are near a school and children are in the area. Watch for school zone posted speed limit. If necessary, stop at the marked stop line. Never stop in the crosswalk. Obey signals from any crossing guard. It is the driver's responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with pedestrians. Remember that children are unpredictable. Do your part to make every crossing a safe crossing.
All drivers should yield the right-of-way to public transit buses traveling in the same direction which have signaled and are reentering the traffic flow from a specifically designated pullout bay.
Pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to funeral processions. When the first vehicle in the funeral processions lawfully enters an intersection, other vehicles in the procession must have their headlights on as a signal to other drivers not to drive between or interfere with the procession while it is in motion unless directed to do so by a law enforcement officer.
Drivers entering a road from a driveway, alley or roadside must yield to vehicles already on the main road. Motorists must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to law enforcement cars, fire engines and other emergency vehicles using sirens and/or flashing lights. Pull over to the closest edge of the roadway immediately and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Do not block intersections.
When driving on interstate highways or other highways with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle, and except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, drivers approaching a law enforcement or other authorized emergency vehicle parked on the roadway with their emergency lights activated, will be required to leave the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, as soon as it is safe to do so.
Note: Emergency vehicles include wreckers that are displaying their amber rotating flashing lights and performing a recovery or loading on a roadside.
When approaching a law enforcement or other authorized emergency vehicle parked on a two-lane roadway with their emergency lights activated, and except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, drivers will be required to slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less.
Sharing the Road with a Bicycle
- Allow three feet of clearance when passing a cyclist. Reduce your speed if the roadway is narrow.
- After parallel parking, check for bicyclists before opening a street-side door.
- At night, avoid using high beam headlights when a cyclist is approaching. The cyclist could be temporarily blinded.
- Do not follow a cyclist closely. If you are too close and the cyclist must lay their bike down on the road in an emergency, you could run them over.
Sharing the Road with a Motorcycle
- When you follow a motorcycle, remember that motorcycles have the ability of stopping much more quickly than other vehicles in emergencies. Following too closely endangers your life and that of the motorcyclist. Do not follow a motorcyclist closely.
- Watch for motorcycles before turning and yield right of-way.
- Include motorcycles in your visual search pattern.
- Do not share the lane with a motorcycle. The motorcyclist needs the room to maneuver safely and is entitled to the entire lane.
- When your automobile is being passed by a motorcycle, you should maintain your lane position and speed. Allow the motorcycle to complete the maneuver and assume proper lane position as quickly as possible.
- Do not follow the cyclist closely. Motorcycles can stop in a shorter distance than a car.
- In traffic, especially in inclement weather or under certain road conditions, motorcycles operate differently than other vehicles. Wind gusts can move a motorcycle across an entire lane. Wet or icy roads impair a motorcyclist's ability to brake and maneuver. Potholes or railroad tracks often require motorcyclists to change positions within their lane. Gravel roads decrease traction and may cause a rider to slow down or brake where a car would not.