What to Know about New Mexico’s Right-of-Way Traffic Laws

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Car Accidents

yield sign in an intersectionDo you know everything you need to know about New Mexico’s right-of-way traffic laws? All New Mexico drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians should do what they can to avoid a vehicle crash. Understanding and following New Mexico’s traffic laws, such as the ‘New Mexico Left Turn Intersection Law,’ is crucial to prevent accidents and avoid getting a ticket. When you yield the right-of-way to another vehicle, you are letting them proceed before you. Failure to yield the right-of-way leads to many crashes.

The right-of-way is the legal right to proceed across any road. Right-of-way laws exist to help keep traffic flowing smoothly and prevent collisions between cross-traffic. The law does not give the right-of-way to anyone, but it does specify who must yield or give up the right-of-way.

Who Has the Right-of-Way at a Yield Sign?

A yield sign alerts drivers to slow down and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicles approaching from another direction. If there is a yield line painted on the pavement, drivers must yield the right-of-way to the other driver before crossing the yield line.

Who Has the Right-of-Way at a Stop Sign?

According to New Mexico Statutes Section 66-7-330, the driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign on New Mexico’s roads must stop and give the right-of-way to vehicles that have entered the intersection or approached close enough to constitute an immediate hazard.

The “Driver on the Right” Rule

Most drivers typically misunderstand the “Yield to the Driver on the Right” rule. This rule controls most intersections when drivers arrive simultaneously. Suppose you come upon a stop sign simultaneously with another driver in a cross street, and they are on your right. In that case, you should yield the right-of-way to the other driver and let him go first.

Who Has the Right-of-Way at an Intersection?

At a four-way intersection, traffic in all four directions is required to stop. According to New Mexico’s traffic laws, the first vehicle reaching the intersection should move forward first. Suppose two cars reach an uncontrolled intersection at close to the same time. In that case, the car getting to the intersection last must yield the right-of-way. If both cars reach the intersection simultaneously, the driver on the left should yield the right-of-way.

When Does a Pedestrian Have the Right-of-Way?

You always yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, even if they are crossing the roadway illegally. No matter the circumstances, you must yield to any pedestrian walking with a guide dog or a white cane.

Do Bicycles or Motorcycles Ever Have the Right-of-Way?

Since bikes are considered vehicles, a bicycle rider is subject to the same rules and duties as the driver of a vehicle. Bicycles should stay as near to the right side of the roadway as possible. Bicycle riders should operate their bikes in a way that does not cause a public safety hazard.

Some Right-of-Way Decisions Are a Matter of Common Sense

There are some right-of-way traffic rules that you should know. Many of these decisions to yield the right-of-way involve using common sense. These rules include:

  • Always yield the right-of-way to a police or emergency vehicle, construction vehicles, road workers, and school buses.
  • When turning left at an intersection, please do not turn into oncoming traffic. Yield to oncoming traffic.
  • When merging into traffic, do not pull out in front of a driver and force them to slow down. Yield to oncoming traffic.
  • Drivers should be aware of areas in which they drive most frequently and should have a basic knowledge of other frequently traveled streets or roadways.
  • Drivers should consider how the right-of-way will affect their travel and should use their discretion regarding travel plans and the environment.
  • Drivers should try to anticipate other drivers’ actions and yield whenever necessary. Giving the right-of-way to other drivers helps to avoid crashes.
  • Always follow the speed limit to avoid accidents and traffic violations.

Penalties for Violating New Mexico’s Right-of-Way Laws

If you fail to yield-the-right-way in New Mexico, you will pay fines and legal costs of $80. Your driver’s license will have three demerit points attached. Failure to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle will result in four demerit points attached to your license. These penalties are part of New Mexico’s traffic laws designed to ensure road safety.

Accidents will happen when drivers negligently fail to follow traffic laws. Running yellow or red blinking lights, failing to yield, making a left-hand turn, or merging onto a highway or roadway without yielding to existing traffic are examples of negligence.

Speak with an Experienced New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer

Suppose you are injured in a New Mexico car accident caused by another driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way to you. In that case, you might be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider.

The personal injury attorneys at Dominguez Law are experienced litigators who handle personal injury and mass tort cases in New Mexico. They fight for justice for seriously injured clients, holding the responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions.

Our experienced lawyers will work tirelessly and may be able to secure compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages. Schedule a free consultation by calling (505) 850-5854 or filling out our contact form.