What Are Missouri’s Right-of-Way Laws?

There will be times when you must stop or slow down to allow another vehicle or pedestrian to pass at an intersection. Missouri’s right-of-way laws help all road users share the road safely, even when there are no traffic signals or stop signs available to direct drivers. Understanding the right-of-way laws is crucial to your safety and the wellbeing of others on the road.

How Do Missouri’s Right-of-Way Laws Work?

These laws can help Missouri drivers determine who has the right-of-way and who must yield to avoid accidents.


Intersections are a common place for crashes to occur. When two or more roads meet or merge, converging drivers need to yield the right-of-way to one another in the appropriate order. If a driver fails to yield when they are supposed to, someone can become seriously injured as a result.

  • When two cars enter an intersection at roughly the same time from different directions, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the driver of the vehicle on the right. The rule does not apply to cars approaching each other in opposite directions when one is trying to make a left turn.
  • When a vehicle is approaching an intersection intending to make a left turn, that driver must yield to any vehicle within the intersection or so close that it poses a threat.


All drivers have an obligation to keep pedestrians safe when crossing the road.

  • At crosswalks, drivers must give pedestrians the right-of-way when crossing on the same side of the road as their vehicle. They must also yield to pedestrians when they cross so closely from the opposite side of the road that they are in danger. Other vehicles may not pass a vehicle that has stopped for a pedestrian.
  • Pedestrians must yield to vehicles on the road whenever they cross at any place besides a marked or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Regardless, the driver has to yield to anyone crossing unlawfully if there is a risk of striking the pedestrian.

Emergency vehicles

Emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens have the right-of-way. If you are in an intersection and see an oncoming emergency vehicle, drive through it carefully, then pull over to the side until the emergency vehicles passes.

Funeral processions

A funeral procession in Missouri has the right-of-way regardless of traffic signals or signage. However, they must yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles.

What to Do if Involved in a Crash with a Negligent Driver

Ignoring right-of-way is a major cause of auto collisions in St. Louis. Our St. Louis car accident lawyers can explain your legal rights and options if you were in a right-of-way accident.

Take steps to protect yourself following a collision with a negligent driver. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Never admit fault

Even if you believe it was partially your fault, you should never apologize to the other driver and admit fault. You are still entitled to compensation if you were injured, even if you were partially at fault, but your much needed compensation will be reduced, and evidence may come out later that shows your degree of fault is much smaller than you believed it to be. Be polite and brief when speaking with the other driver and exchanging contact and insurance information.

Gather evidence

Take photos and videos of all four sides of the cars involved—record information about the weather and the surrounding area for context of how the accident occurred. Include any traffic signals or signage in your images from the crash site.

Request a police report

At the scene of the accident, ask for a police report. It should detail the accident site, the cars involved, and who the responding officer deemed at fault based on the information available to them. It may also include eyewitness testimony, which may be crucial in determining who is ultimately at fault.

Don’t consent to a recorded statement without your lawyer

Never consent to a recorded statement with the insurance company without your attorney present. If you admit fault in your recorded statement, insurance companies and attorneys may use that against you during settlement negotiations and at trial.

Avoid using social media

Do not use social media until you settle your case. The other driver’s lawyer will try to use your social media comments, photos, and videos against you in court. For example, to try to show your injuries are not as severe as you claim.

Managing a Missouri Car Crash Due to Someone’s Failure-to-Yield

If you are injured in a Missouri right-of-way accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The experienced St. Louis auto accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley are familiar with Missouri’s right-of-way laws and can handle your claim while you focus on your recovery.

Contact us now to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you with your case.