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Right-of-Way Laws in Minnesota

by May 16, 2024Car Accidents, Mike Miller, Personal Injury

Navigating the roads in Minnesota requires more than just knowing how to drive; it also necessitates a clear understanding of the right-of-way laws. These rules are essential for preventing car accidents and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic. However, right-of-way laws can often be misunderstood or overlooked, leading to dangerous situations.

In this blog, we will explore the right-of-way laws in Minnesota, dig into common scenarios where these laws apply, and discuss the potential consequences of failing to yield the right-of-way. Additionally, we’ll highlight how personal injury lawyers in Minnesota can assist if you find yourself involved in a traffic accident due to a right-of-way violation. 

What Are Right-of-Way Laws? 

Right-of-way laws dictate who has the legal right to proceed first in various traffic situations. These laws are designed to promote safety and order on the roads by providing clear guidelines for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. By understanding and adhering to these rules, road users can reduce the risk of collisions and ensure a more predictable driving environment. 

Key Right-of-Way Traffic Rules in Minnesota 

Minnesota traffic laws encompass several specific right-of-way rules that drivers must follow. Here are some of the most important ones: 


At intersections without traffic signals or stop signs, drivers must yield the right-of-way to vehicles coming from the right. If two vehicles approach an intersection simultaneously, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. 

Stop Signs 

When approaching a stop sign, drivers must come to a complete stop and yield the right-of-way to any vehicle or pedestrian in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard. 

Traffic Signals 

Drivers must obey traffic signals at intersections. When a signal changes to green, drivers must still yield the right-of-way to any vehicles or pedestrians lawfully within the intersection before proceeding. 

Pedestrian Crosswalks 

Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks. This includes both marked and unmarked crosswalks at intersections. Pedestrians have the right-of-way once they have stepped into the crosswalk. 

Emergency Vehicles 

When an emergency vehicle approaches with flashing lights and sirens, drivers must yield the right-of-way by pulling over to the right side of the road and stopping until the vehicle has passed. 

Left Turns 

When making a left turn at an intersection, drivers must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic and pedestrians within the intersection or crosswalk. 


Vehicles entering a roundabout must yield the right-of-way to traffic already circulating within the roundabout. Drivers should enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic. 

Common Scenarios and Potential Conflicts 

Understanding right-of-way traffic laws is crucial, but it’s equally important to know how they apply in real-world scenarios. Here are some common situations where right-of-way issues often arise. 

Four-Way Stops 

At a four-way stop, the first vehicle to arrive and come to a complete stop has the right-of-way. If two or more vehicles arrive simultaneously, the driver to the right has the right-of-way. However, confusion often occurs when drivers fail to communicate clearly or misjudge who arrived first. 

Uncontrolled Intersections 

In residential areas, intersections without stop signs or traffic signals can be confusing. The rule here is that drivers must yield to vehicles coming from the right. Misunderstandings in these situations can lead to side-impact collisions. 

Merging Lanes 

When merging onto a highway or into another lane, the merging vehicle must yield the right-of-way to vehicles already in the lane. Failure to do so can result in dangerous merging accidents. 

Bicyclists and Pedestrians 

Drivers must always be vigilant for bicyclists and pedestrians, especially at intersections and crosswalks. Yielding the right-of-way to these vulnerable road users is not only a legal obligation but also a crucial safety practice. 

Driveways and Parking Lots 

When entering or exiting a driveway or parking lot, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on the sidewalk and to vehicles on the main road. Accidents in these areas often occur due to drivers’ inattention or failure to yield. 

Consequences of Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way 

Failing to yield the right-of-way can have serious consequences, including traffic citations, fines, and increased insurance premiums. More importantly, such violations can lead to severe accidents, causing injuries or even fatalities. In Minnesota, if you are found at fault for an accident due to a right-of-way violation, you may be held liable for the damages and injuries resulting from the collision. 

Legal Assistance for Right-of-Way Violations 

If you are involved in a car accident caused by a right-of-way violation, consulting with a Minnesota personal injury attorney is crucial. Personal injury lawyers in Minnesota can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. 

A skilled personal injury attorney will start by evaluating the details of your case. They will review the accident report, gather evidence, and determine whether a right-of-way violation contributed to the collision. Proving liability in a right-of-way accident can be challenging. An experienced attorney will use their knowledge of Minnesota traffic laws to build a strong case, demonstrating how the other party’s failure to yield caused the accident. 

Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts. Your attorney will handle all communications with the insurance company, negotiating on your behalf to secure a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will be prepared to take your case to court. They will provide aggressive representation, advocating for your rights and seeking the maximum compensation available under Minnesota law. 

Right-of-Way Accident Attorneys in MN 

Understanding and adhering to right-of-way laws is essential for the safety and efficiency of Minnesota’s roads. These laws are designed to prevent auto accidents and protect all road users, including drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. However, right-of-way violations still occur, leading to serious accidents and injuries. 

If you find yourself involved in an accident due to a right-of-way violation, seeking the assistance of a Minnesota personal injury lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Personal injury lawyers in Minnesota have the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal system, establish liability, and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. 

At Sieben Edmunds Miller, our experienced team of attorneys is dedicated to helping victims of right-of-way accidents. We understand the complexities of Minnesota traffic laws and are committed to providing personalized, compassionate representation. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options. Together, we can work towards securing the justice and compensation you need to move forward. 

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