If two cars reach an intersection at the same time but the car on the right wants to turn right, who has the right of way? Who would be at fault if there was a car accident in this scenario?
There is no law about “T-intersections” in Washington State. Therefore, in order to determine who has the right of way, we must look at other laws. The right of way law at an uncontrolled intersection is governed by RCW 46.61.185. It states that the car on the right is the favored driver if both cars enter an intersection at approximately the same time. This means that the car on the right at an uncontrolled T-intersection would have the right of way. This assumes that there are no stop signs or yield signs governing the intersection, which there most likely would be.
If the car accident happened at a “T-Intersection” in a parking lot, Washington state law in general would apply and the car on the right would have the right of way, assuming they reached the intersection at the same time.
The right of way is not absolute, however, and there are some exceptions. The exceptions include to act reasonably under the circumstances. If you clearly see that the car on the left is not going to stop, you have an obligation to act reasonably and avoid the car accident. You cannot blindly continue straight if you can avoid a car accident. You may be at fault even though you were the favored driver in under the circumstances. This is detailed in the Washington Pattern Jury Instruction 70.02.
The favored driver is entitled to rely on the disfavored driver’s yielding the right of way at an uncontrolled intersection until the favored driver reaches that point at which a reasonable person exercising reasonable care would realize that the disfavored driver is not going to yield. Whitchurch v. McBride, 63 Wn.App. 272, 818 P.2d 622 (1991); Maxwell v. Piper, 92 Wn.App. 471, 963 P.2d 941 (1998).
Vehicle turning left.The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.