Ralph A. Schwartz, P.C.

The dangers of failing to yield when making a left turn

Two drivers traveling on a Nevada roadway in opposite directions may have different responsibilities under the Nevada motor vehicle rules, particularly if one decides to make a turn. A motorist who forgets this obvious but necessary rule puts him or herself and others at great risk of injury or even death.

Accidents frequently happen when an operator of a left-turning vehicle does not properly ensure it is clear to do so. As reported by U.S. News and World Report, just such an accident recently involved Joe Jackson, father of the late music icon Michael Jackson. Mr. Jackson was riding as a passenger when another car attempting to make a left turn in front of Mr. Jackson's vehicle struck it. The authorities charged the operator of the left-turning vehicle with failing to yield to Mr. Jackson's vehicle. Fortunately, after going to the hospital for observation, Mr. Jackson was able to return home.

Chapter 484 of the Nevada Revised Statutes' Rules of the Road directs that the operator of a vehicle on a highway who is about to leave that highway must allow the right of way to all closely oncoming vehicles. In other words, a driver cannot make a left turn dangerously in front of the approaching vehicle. The driver may only make a left turn when the roadway is safely clear of forthcoming cars. There need not be a resulting collision with the other vehicle for a driver to face a failure to yield charge.

It is not unusual for the non-turning driver involved in such an accident to feel remorseful or responsible even when that individual may not be. However, there are things drivers can do even at the scene of the accident that will help protect their rights if they later seek compensation for injury or property damage.

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