Free Consultation. No Fees Until You Collect. Call 24 Hours a Day 1-800-4-RIGHTS
Minnesota Offices

Serving all of Minnesota
Call 1-800-4-RIGHTS

If you’re recovering, we’ll come to you. Or we’ll set up a meeting at one of our convenient office locations:

See all results for ‘
Enter 3 or more characters for full site search

The Complete Guide to Minnesota Right-of-Way Laws

 

Right-of-way laws keep everyone safer on the road. Knowing when you should yield to other drivers can help you avoid accidents and protect yourself. And while you may think you already know local traffic laws by heart, it’s never a bad idea to brush up.

Here’s an overview of Minnesota right-of-way laws.

1. Four-Way Stops

Generally, the first vehicle to arrive at a four-way stop has the right-of-way. Vehicles should proceed through the intersection in the order that they arrived. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the right-of-way will depend on which direction they’re traveling.

  • If the drivers won’t be crossing each other’s paths, they can proceed at the same time. For example, if both drivers are facing each other and intend to drive straight ahead, neither has to wait on the other.
  • If both vehicles are driving straight but will cross each other’s path, the driver on the right has the right-of-way.
  • If one vehicle is turning and the other is going straight, the driver going straight has the right-of-way.
  • If one vehicle is turning left and another is turning right, the right-turning driver has the right-of-way.

2. Two-Way Stops

When approaching a two-way stop, drivers must always yield to traffic on the road that doesn’t stop. If another vehicle is stopped on the other side, the driver that arrived first has the right-of-way once the cross-traffic is clear. If both vehicles arrive at the same time, the proper order will once again depend on which direction they’re traveling.

  • If neither vehicle will cross the other’s path, both can proceed.
  • If one vehicle is turning and the other is going straight, the driver going straight has the right-of-way.
  • If one vehicle is turning left and another is turning right, the right-turning driver has the right-of-way.

3. Yield Sign Intersections

When approaching a yield sign, you aren’t always required to stop. You should, however, always slow to a reasonable speed. If there are no vehicles or pedestrians to yield to, you can then proceed without stopping. If there are, you must stop and wait until the road is clear.

4. Left Turns

Any time you’re turning left, you must yield to oncoming traffic. The only exception to this is when turning left on a green arrow, in which case oncoming traffic will be stopped and must yield to you.

5. Traffic Light Intersections

Traffic lights are simple enough. Green means go, red means stop, and yellow means start stopping. However, there are some other points worth mentioning.

First, if there are any vehicles still in the intersection when the light turns green, you must yield to them before proceeding. For example, if a driver started turning left in front of you as their light was turning from yellow to red, you must wait until they’re safely out of the intersection before driving on.

Then, there’s the question of what to do with flashing lights—or no lights at all.

  • If the light is flashing yellow, it means that you should move with caution through the intersection, but you aren’t required to stop.
  • If the light is flashing red, you should treat it as if it was a stop sign. The rules of a typical four-way or two-way stop apply.
  • If the traffic lights are out of order and there is no light at all, you should treat it as if it was a stop sign.

6. Roundabouts

To some drivers, roundabouts can seem confusing. They’re pretty simple once you get the hang of them, though.

First, roundabouts always move in a counterclockwise direction. That means you will always be turning right when entering a roundabout, never left.

Vehicles approaching a roundabout must yield to any vehicles already in the roundabout and wait for a safe opportunity to enter. Then, you will have the right-of-way over any other vehicles entering the roundabout after you.

Special Rules for Minnesota Right-of-Way Law

So far, we’ve dealt with the rules of right-of-way for standard vehicles. The rules can change in certain circumstances, though. Let’s take a look at some of the exceptions.

Pedestrians

Under Minnesota law, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians—even if the pedestrian is breaking the law. Pedestrians have no protection against vehicles, and drivers are expected to take any steps necessary to avoid injuring them.

For example, if a pedestrian enters a street illegally, such as when jaywalking, drivers must slow or even stop their vehicles to allow the pedestrian to cross safely. 

With that said, pedestrians can still be at fault for an accident, and drivers can still seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

Cyclists

For the most part, cyclists must follow the same right-of-way rules as motor vehicles. This includes the requirement to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

Motorcyclists

As with cyclists, motorcycle riders are subject to the same right-of-way laws as any other driver.

Emergency Vehicles

If an emergency vehicle is driving without its lights or siren activated, you can treat it the same as you would any other vehicle. However, if the lights or sirens are activated, an emergency vehicle always has the right-of-way. In fact, all other vehicles are required to pull over to the nearest curb or shoulder until the emergency vehicle has passed.

Funeral Processions

The rules for emergency vehicles apply to funeral processions as well. You must always yield the right-of-way to a funeral procession, and you must pull over and bring your vehicle to a stop until the procession passes.

Always Remember the Golden Rule

Even if Minnesota law says you have the right-of-way, yield if not doing so would cause an accident. Not everyone knows the “rules of the road!”

Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?

If you or a loved one are injured in a Minnesota auto, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation—and we can help you get it.

For 70 years, SiebenCarey has helped thousands of injury victims get the financial support they need in the aftermath of an accident. Just contact us, and we can:

  • Answer your questions
  • Explain your rights to you
  • Investigate the details of your accident
  • Build a solid case on your behalf
  • Help you recover every dollar of compensation you deserve

Best of all, we work on a contingency fee basis—so you win or you don’t pay!

Get your free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Related Posts

Client Reviews

out of 186 reviews
Renee Goneau

SiebenCarey is a great personal injury law firm that really cares about their clients.  Highly recommend!

Carly R.

My boyfriend was hit by a car and while all the attorneys he talked to said he didn't have much chance of a case, SiebenCarey took him on and gave him a fighting chance. He's still recovering, but SiebenCarey is making it a lot easier.

Jazz Smith

SiebenCarey is a professional and dedicated law organization that help accident victim.

Jenna L. at Insider Pages

I have had nothing but great service with these guys. They are very knowledgable on a wide variety of subjects and topic. They will help you with any case you need!

Daniel Ball

Really good professionals, they solved my issues in no time using the most impressive and advanced approach. Really good, highly recommended.

Morgan Petoletti

My husband had an amazing experience with this firm. They listened and took the time to understand our case.

Eric Petoletti

Even though I was states away and could only talk on the phone, they listened and did everything that they could to win my case. I felt like I was a part of the family.

St. Paul Local 12

Thanks for everything, your experience paid off BIG!!!

Jesse Bukal

In need of a personal injury attorney? Well you're if you're reading this you're in the right place. You'd be hard pressed to find more competent attorneys than the ones here at SiebenCarey.

They took my case to trial and an amazing job presenting the facts and fighting for my best interests! Three years ago I was unsure of what my future would bring; now that it's over I can rest a bit easier. With SiebenCarey as my counsel, I believe I had the absolute BEST representation a person could've asked for. I knew that I wanted the absolute best representation when searching for an attorney to handle my case and I most definitely received it.

If you need a personal injury attorney, look no further. Can't recommend highly enough.

Heather Beal

When someone asks me to refer them to a personal injury lawyer, I immediately give them Jim Carey’s name and contact information at SiebenCarey in Minneapolis. Jim is more than a top-rated, expert personal injury attorney, he is an empathetic and compassionate listener. He sees people, not simply case files. He has represented my friends well by sincerely caring about the immediate and lasting effects that injuries from car accidents, negligence or other circumstances have had on their lives.

Award Winning Know Your Rights Attorneys

Certified Civil Trial Law Specialists

8 Certified Civil Trial Law Specialists, Minnesota Bar Association
3 Board Certified Trial Advocates, National Board of Trial Advocacy.

2022 Super Lawyers

Also awarded in:
2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

2022 Best Lawyers in America©

Also awarded in:
2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.

2022 U.S. News Best Law Firms

Also awarded in:
2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

Attorneys of the Year

5 of our attorneys have been recognized as Attorneys of the Year

FREE DOWNLOAD

50%

To help us recommend the best resources for you, please indicate the relevant accident type below:

Step 1 of 2: Case

Please select an answer before proceeding

Please enter your email address below so we can send your download link right away.

Step 2 of 2: Download

Please enter your valid email address so we can send your download link and special printing instructions.

Secure form. Your information is confidential with us.

FREE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE

50%

To help us customize our resources for you, please indicate the relevant accident type below:

Step 1 of 2: Accident Type

Please select an answer before proceeding

Please enter your email address below so we can send your download link right away.

Step 2 of 2: Download

Please enter your valid email address so we can send your download link and special printing instructions.

Secure form. Your information is confidential with us.

FREE DOWNLOAD!

50%
The Minnesota No-Fault Fact Sheet is a valuable resource for all Minnesotans

Have you been in a recent accident, if so, which type?

Please select an answer before proceeding

Please enter your email address below so we can send your download link right away.

Please enter your valid email address so we can send your download link and special printing instructions.

Secure form. Your information is confidential with us.

Had an Accident or Injury?
WE CAN HELP!

  • No risk or obligation. We only collect fees if you win.
  • Free review of your options and potential for success.
  • Trusted by more than 65,000 people just like you since 1952.

Call us 24/7 at 1-800-4-RIGHTS(744487)

Or complete the form

Secure form. Your information is confidential with us.
Please enter the required information above

Would you recommend us?

We are interested in hearing about your experience with SiebenCarey Personal Injury Law.

Would you mind leaving a review? If so, please take a moment to tell us about your experience and also mention the attorney you worked with. Your feedback helps us to improve our services to you and all clients.

Step 1 of 2:

Contact Us

We strive to provide top quality legal and customer service. We're sorry that we didn't meet our own expectations for you - How can we do better?

Please enter the required information above