Texas Right-of-Way Laws

PUBLISHED ON: May 29, 2024

Navigating Texas roads safely requires understanding who has the right of way in different scenarios. Laws are in place to help everyone know when to yield, helping prevent accidents and injuries. Here’s a look at some of the most important right-of-way rules in Texas.

Access road to highway landscape in Texas


Intersections can be tricky, but following right-of-way laws makes them safer for everyone.

  • Unpaved roads: When entering a street from an unpaved road, the driver on the unpaved road should give the right of way to drivers on the paved road.
  • Private roads: Yield to traffic on main roads when entering from a private road or driveway.
  • Turning: When turning left, yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians crossing the street. When turning right, yield to traffic in the lane you’re entering and wait for pedestrians to cross.
  • Railroad crossings: Always yield to trains. Heed stop signs, flashing lights, and crossing gate arms to avoid railroad accidents.
  • T-intersections: Vehicles on the through street have the right of way. Cars approaching this street should stop and wait for a break in the traffic before turning left or right.
  • Uncontrolled intersections: If you approach an intersection with no visible traffic lights, stop signs, or other signals, yield to traffic already in the intersection and proceed cautiously.

Emergency Vehicles

When emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens are on the road, you must give them the right of way. Texas law states that drivers must move to the right side of the road and stop. If you’re at a light and an emergency vehicle pulls up behind you, proceed through the intersection and then pull off to the right.

School Buses

Texas law has strict rules about yielding to school buses to protect children.

  • Stop if a school bus has its lights flashing and stop arm extended, regardless of the direction you’re coming from.
  • Proceed once the bus moves, the lights stop flashing, or the driver signals you to pass.
  • There’s no need to stop if the bus is on the opposite side of a controlled-access highway.

Failing to yield to a school bus can result in severe penalties:

  • First-time offenders may be fined up to $1,250.
  • Repeat offenders may be fined between $1,000 and $2,000, with possible license suspension.
  • Failure to yield causing injury may result in fines up to $4,000 and jail time up to one year.
  • Severe injury with a previous conviction is a felony, with fines up to $10,000 and jail time ranging from 180 days to two years.


Pedestrians always have the right of way in the following situations:

  • At a green light, even without a “walk” signal illuminated
  • If the light turns red while the pedestrian is still crossing
  • When crossing at an intersection, whether a marked crosswalk is present or not

For safety reasons, drivers should yield to pedestrians even if they’re crossing illegally.

Contact Nava Law Group for Assistance

Not everyone knows and follows Texas right-of-way laws. If you’ve been involved in an accident due to a right-of-way violation, Nava Law Group can help. With over 150 years of combined legal experience, our highly qualified attorneys are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 713.661.9900 to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Houston, Bellaire, Edinburg, or Austin, TX.

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