Suppose I want to make a turn, but other cars going straight have right-of-way. To be more precise, this applies to situations like:
- I'm making a left turn across a lane of incoming traffic, in the absence of stop signs or traffic lights
- I'm at a lighted intersection where I have a green light (unprotected left turn) and oncoming traffic also has a green light to continue straight
- I'm making a right turn into a lane where existing traffic in that lane is continuing straight
Under normal circumstances, it is my responsibility to go only when it is safe to do so, considering the distance of incoming cars and their speed. When it is safe, it is also my responsibility to actually go, to avoid blocking traffic behind me.
My question: should I turn or not when the incoming traffic comes close to me and stops (or dramatically slows down enough for me to go), even though they have right of way? This scenario actually happens to me, either because the other driver is confused or just being nice.
One possibility: by stopping, are they relinquishing right-of-way and I should go, to avoid blocking traffic behind me. However I have never learned of such a rule where right-of-way is given up by stopping or slowing down.
The other possibility: they maintain right-of-way regardless. In this case, if I decide to go and then they suddenly accelerate and crash into me (e.g., for insurance fraud), am I at fault for being in the way? Even if they shouldn't have accelerated into me, realistically speaking, in the absence of dashcams, is a traffic officer likely to believe my story that they "let me go," versus the more common scenario of me going when it isn't safe? Of course this depends on the officer and situation, but the possibility of being "framed" bothers me.
According to Nolo:
A car making a left turn is almost always liable for a collision with a car coming straight in the other direction. Exceptions to this near-automatic rule are rare and difficult to prove, but they can occur if:
The three listed reasons do not include the scenario in this question, which to me, appears to be an exceptionally easy avenue for insurance fraud.
I live in California, but I'm interested in general advice for this situation throughout the United States.