Have you ever been driving and wondered if you had the right of way in your chosen course of action? Be it a left turn, a right turn, going straight, changing lanes, passing a crosswalk, etc. Actually, let’s back up. Have you ever been alive and wondered if you had the right of way in your chosen course of action? If your answer is no, I simply wonder what it’s like to live in the clouds. Oblivious to everything that is happening around you. I’m also very concerned for your general safety and the safety of those around you. 

But hey, I get it. Not everything in life is fun enough to be fully engaged in. Hello pretty much all of 2020. Just because it isn’t fun doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to tune out, though. We’re not children anymore, unfortunately. Last time I checked no one was making me dinner so another night of Goldfish it is! Specific activities require much more attention than others, too, so you have to stay on your game to make sure you’re not treating driving like Mario Kart. I’m all for an epic night of Mario Kart, flying down Rainbow Road like a mad person, but I also understand that Mario Kart and actual driving only have one thing in common: wheels.

Since not all of us have jumped on the self-driving car bandwagon yet, either, driving is still a very much need to be engaged task. Which means that anytime you choose to cross a street as a pedestrian, you too need to be engaged. Otherwise bad things could happen. You could almost hit a pedestrian and spill your coffee all over you. You could almost get hit by a car and drop your milkshake on the ground. Both scenarios are equally traumatizing. Think of all of the food and beverages that could be saved if people paid more attention. Smh. 

To help stop the spread of preventable food waste due to close calls involving vehicles, pedestrians, and roads of some kind (or anywhere a vehicle could go really), I’ve created a simple guide. This can be memorized, printed out and stuck on your bathroom mirror, taught in schools worldwide, set as the background of your phone – anything. Because it’s important. It’s simple. It’s common sense when you think about it. It can save lives. It, of course, is a questionnaire to determine if you have the right of way … in no particular order:


  • Am I at a red light trying to turn right? Well, is there someone coming down the road I’m trying to turn on? Yes? Then no. No? Then yes
  • Am I at a red light trying to go straight, or turn left? No, what? This is not even a way and also not how the most basic traffic laws work. Red means stop
  • Am I at a YIELD SIGN? Well, again, is there someone coming down the road I’m trying to turn on? Yes? Then no. No? Then yes
  • Am I in a free flowing right turn lane? Yes, and everyone expects you to keep going
  • Am I trying to merge into a free flowing right turn lane? Let’s review, check first and if no one is there then you have the right of way. If there is someone there you better check yourself
  • Am I at a stop sign? Is it all way and have you been there the longest? Yes, get moving! No? Wait your turn skippy! Is it a three way, two way, or singular way stop? If you still haven’t realized at this point that you need to check first I question how you obtained a license in the first place
  • Am I at a stop sign, trying to turn, with pedestrian crossings present? If there are pedestrians, then no. If not, then yes
  • Am I approaching a yellow light? Can you make it through safely without going at ridiculous speeds? Yes, by all means keep going. If you need to top 80 to make it, slow your roll speed racer and wait it out
  • Am I at a green light trying to go straight? YES! The easiest one to remember
  • Am I at a green light trying to turn right? Is there a pedestrian crossing? Better wait out grandma because she has the right of way. If not, shame on you for choosing a non pedestrian friendly city, but yes you do
  • Am I at a green light trying to turn left? Do you have a green turn arrow? Then yes. Otherwise, no wait for all the straight people to go
  • Am I at a flashing yellow turn light? This is the traffic light version of a yield sign so check yourself first before just jumping right out there
  • Am I trying to merge lanes? Kind of if you check your mirrors, check your blindspots, and check your mirrors again for other cars before proceeding
  • Am I trying to merge onto a highway? No. Nope, no one is obligated to let you in that is 100% on you. Assess your speed, assess the openings, and don’t wait until the end of the ramp to look around


  • Am I at a random place on a random road with zero clearly marked pedestrian crossing zones? If you’re not at a crosswalk then whatever happens is on you. You only have the right of way in a crosswalk, or a pedestrian crossing zone. 
  • Am I at a crosswalk with a stop hand showing? No. Stop means stop no matter how you’re choosing to get from point A to point B
  • Am I at a crosswalk with a walk sign showing? YES! The easiest pedestrian answer
  • Am I at a crosswalk with no signage for go / no-go? Yes, but don’t start your adventure as a car flies through – wait until it’s clear.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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