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right of way rules
May 26, 2023
3 min
Guide to The Right Of Way Rules in Ontario

Knowing what to do and how to react in various situations is an incredibly important aspect of being a good driver.

Having a clear understanding of the rules of the road can help you avoid potentially dangerous accidents and help you maintain your current auto insurance rates.

Learning the important rules of the road, like the right-of-way rules, may feel like a tedious task, but it’s necessary if you want to keep yourself and others out of harm’s way.

Today’s article will teach you everything you need to know about the right-of-way requirements in Ontario. Continue reading to get started!

Afterward, feel free to contact your Surex insurance advisor if you need help comparing auto insurance quotes in Ontario.

Important right-of-way rules in Ontario — An expert overview

For those that don’t know, “right-of-way” is a term that refers to the party who can use a shared space (for instance, an intersection) at a particular time. If you don’t have the right-of-way, you have to wait until the other motorists, pedestrians, etc., have passed; at this point, you can proceed through the intersection.

As straightforward as this may sound, there are a number of important right-of-way rules that are often overlooked. Learning the ins and outs of these rules can make you a better, more defensive driver and help you stay safe while on the road.

Who has the right-of-way at intersections with a stop sign?

If you've spent your fair share of time on the road, you most likely know that there are several different types of stop sign intersections in Ontario. Each type of stop sign intersection has its own set of rules that drivers need to follow.

Let’s take a look at these rules:

Two-way stop sign intersections in Ontario

Drivers are required to yield to oncoming traffic while using a two-way intersection in Ontario. Once the oncoming traffic has passed, you have the right-of-way and can proceed through the intersection. If you have to make a left-hand turn at a two-way intersection, the vehicles facing your direction have the right-of-way.

Three-way stop sign and T-intersections in Ontario

Drivers are expected to give the right-of-way to through traffic while using a three-way stop sign or T-intersection. If two motorists arrive at a three-way stop sign or T-intersection, the driver on the right side has the right-of-way.

Four-way stop sign intersections in Ontario

Many drivers feel intimidated when they pull up to a four-way stop sign intersection; however, they’re relatively easy to use if you’re familiar with the right-of-way rules.

At four-way stop sign intersections, the right-of-way goes to the driver who arrived first. Once the first driver passes through the intersection, the second, third, fourth, etc. drivers can proceed.

Unfortunately, some drivers have a hard time keeping track of who arrived at the intersection first. If another motorist accidentally proceeds through the intersection without having the right-of-way, do your best to stay calm and wait until it’s your turn to proceed.

Do pedestrians get the right-of-way in Ontario?

Yes, as a driver in Ontario, you’re required to yield for pedestrians under a number of circumstances, including the following instances:

  • Crossing the street while the walking signal is flashing
  • Crossing the street while the countdown signal is flashing
  • Using a crossover (designated crossing area without traffic lights)

Additionally, drivers must wait until the pedestrians have safely reached the sidewalk on the other side of the street (i.e. you cannot use the intersection while pedestrians are using a crosswalk). Furthermore, drivers need to wait for the crossing guard to return to the sidewalk (if there’s one present).

Right-of-way driveway rules in Ontario

As an insurance brokerage, we’re better suited to provide insurance-related advice as opposed to legal advice. If you need help understanding your rights regarding a shared driveway, you should reach out to a legal expert. 

However, generally speaking, if you have a shared driveway and your neighbour is blocking you (in or out), they’re breaching your rights as a shared owner of the driveway. Reach out to your lawyer if you’d like to learn more.

Right-of-way rules in parking lots in Ontario

Parking lot accidents happen all of the time; however, many of these cases could have been avoided if the drivers were familiar with the right-of-way regulations in parking lots. 

If you’re driving through one of the primary lanes in a parking lot, you have the right-of-way over drivers waiting to get out of their parking spaces. If you’re in a parking spot, you need to wait until all of the motorists in the adjacent primary lane have proceeded before you can leave the parking spot.

If you happen to get into an accident in a parking lot while pulling out of a parking space, you will be deemed at fault for the accident. Being deemed at fault for an accident can severely impact your auto insurance rates, so you want to avoid getting into one at all costs, even if it means waiting a few minutes before exiting your parking spot.

Speaking of auto insurance rates, did you know you could reduce your premium by a significant amount when you compare quotes with an online insurance brokerage like Surex?

Find the best car insurance rates today.

Starting saving up to 25% when you bundle with your Surex insurance advisor

Knowing who has the right of way at an intersection is important, but it’s only half the battle; you need to follow the rules as well! If you’re a safe, defensive driver, you can use your driving skills to help you save on auto insurance in Ontario.

At Surex, we work with several top-rated auto insurance companies in Ontario, all of which are happy to insure safe, experienced drivers. Whether you’re looking for basic coverage or want the best insurance that money can buy, we can help you find what you’re looking for and more.

Contact our team today to start comparing quotes in ten minutes or less and to learn how we can help you save up to 25% when you bundle with one of our partners.

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