Who Has the Right of Way? A Definitive Guide for Miami Drivers, Because We Apparently Need This

Driving in Miami is pretty much its own punch line. You're on your way to work or the plastic surgeon's office or your coke dealer's apartment, trying to be all Zen about the traffic, when suddenly some idiot cuts you off and damn near causes an accident. There's a reason Florida drivers were named the worst in America last week, and Miami drivers are probably the worst in the state.

You curse, you kick, you cry. "Is there one single person in this city who understands the right of way?" you mutter to yourself.

First things first: Florida law doesn't technically give anyone the right of way, but rather says who should yield in a given situation.

But, to paraphrase Smokey Bear, only you can prevent vehicular idiocy. The state's driver handbook (which, we assume, no self-respecting Floridian has read) says drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists "must do everything possible to avoid a crash." 

In that spirit, it helps to know who's supposed to yield in a variety of scenarios, if only to be able to smugly congratulate yourself for being right. So here's a list to passive-aggressively share on your Facebook page. It's really not that hard, people.

Four-way stops: How do they work?
Four-way stops: How do they work?

The basics:

  • The first car to arrive at a four-way stop has the right of way. If you don't understand and/or practice this, it's safe to say everyone hates you.
  • If more than one car stops at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way. (Deal with it.)
  • If two cars traveling in the opposite direction arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, the vehicle going straight has the right of way. 
  • Cars on the larger, main roadway generally have the right of way over cars coming from a driveway, alley, or smaller road.
  • Cars already inside a roundabout have the right of way, so don't even try it, buddy.
Bikes are allowed to ride on sidewalks, people.
Bikes are allowed to ride on sidewalks, people.

For bicyclists and pedestrians: 

  • Pedestrians or bicyclists in a marked crosswalk have the right of way, unless there's a traffic signal telling them not to cross.
  • On the flip side, pedestrians and bicyclists must yield to cars when there's not a marked crosswalk. Frogger-style attempts to cross the street are frowned upon.
  • Bicycles on the sidewalk — yes, bike hater, they are allowed on sidewalks if they have a bell — must yield to pedestrians.
Buses have the right of way, dudes.
Buses have the right of way, dudes.

For special vehicles:

  • Emergency vehicles with their lights or sirens on always have the right of way. Don't be a dick.
  • Buses trying to merge back into traffic always have the right of way. Again, don't be a dick.
  • All drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists must yield to funeral processions. Seriously, it's been a bad enough day for those people.
  • Cars always yield to trains, unless you have a death wish (but even then, not cool).

And one final, lesser-known rule:

  • A driver making a U-turn has the right of way over a driver attempting to turn right on red. 

Stay woke, Miami.


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