• Defensive Driving Rule #3: Yield Anyway!

    "Nobody ever yielded their way into a collision." Think about it. If you are in doubt about who has the right of way, give it away. The other guy may be wrong, but you can end up hurt or dead. We often say no one HAS the right-of-way until it is yielded to them. (Keep in mind I'm talking defensive driving practices, not traffic law.) Right of way rules are often misunderstood, and there are situations where the rules may not be clear to everyone. If there is uncertainty about which vehicle should have the right of way, give the other guy the road. When it comes to driving safely, it's not the principle, but the outcome, that counts.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. vertical's Avatar
      vertical -
      I get the general principle, but if you're referring to hwy merging I disagree. This is why so many people have trouble merging, because right-of-way is poorly understood. or someone thinks they are helping by being "nice." Assuming established traffic (with right-of-way) does not have the easy option to move over, yielding by slowing down can in fact make it more difficult for merging traffic. Assuming the driver is merging properly, he/she will merge by adjusting speed relative to your speed. This is more difficult to do when your speed is changing. If he was planning on merging in behind you, he must now adjust his acceleration (slow or floor it), hoping he still has sufficient room to get in behind or sufficient pick-up to go in front (when you slow, traffic behind you is potentially very close leaving little room to merge).

      You might again adjust speed based on your perception of what his intent is. Eventually, you can end up with you forcing him into a ditch or both vehicles near a dead stop (hello rear end collision). Since neither of you can read the other's mind, it generally works best if you both do what is expected: Established traffic maintain speed, merging traffic adjust speed to merge. Of course there are exceptions, such as in slower moving, high volume traffic.
    1. ro3bert's Avatar
      ro3bert -
      Agreed! My feeling is I'd rather be alive than dead right.
    1. kk794d's Avatar
      kk794d -
      Last week I saw an upside down sedan totally demolished because the driver could not merge into the traffic and was forced on to the wall at the end of a very short lane for merging. It is not unusual in the 110 freeway (Los Angeles) the oldest freeway. I surmised one or both drivers made mistake. If only the driver move over a couple of feet and the on ramp driver had the ability to watch the coming traffic while merging, or one of them adjust the speed or just stop merging, that guy could have been alive still. Don't expect other would yield for you but always yield to help others.