Remember the Rules of the Road

Remember the Rules of the Road

It’s time to dust off your old driver’s education manuals. When a traffic light is not functioning at an intersection, and two drivers approach, who may proceed first?

On June 26, 2018, the Appellate Division in Troiani-Schwartz v. Dickers (A-5176-16T1) affirmed the dismissal of a case against a defendant driver who was ultimately shown to have right of way when a traffic light was not working. The accident occurred at an intersection where the traffic light was out of order due to Hurricane Sandy. The plaintiff who brought the action claimed she thought the defendant was going to stop so she sped up through the intersection without stopping first. The defendant testified that she came to a complete stop and looked both ways before entering the intersection. The undisputed evidence showed the defendant was the first to approach the intersection and plaintiff was the driver on the left, and defendant was the driver on the right.

Traffic law dictates that when a traffic light is not functioning, drivers must come to a complete stop and make observations. A driver who enters an intersection first has the right of way. If two drivers approach the intersection at the same time, the driver located to the right side has the right of way, and the driver to the left must yield.

For a refresher on the rules of the road, you can visit the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website at http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/about/manuals.htm.