I had a negative experience on the road recently, and I want to know if I was in the wrong. It's a simple situation: I am leaving a parking lot preparing to turn left on to a main road, another car enters the left turn lane preparing to enter the road I'm leaving. I was there first, so I go ahead to make my left turn, but the other car begins to move as well. We both stopped a few feet from each other, the driver gestures frustratedly for me to go, so I do, and then they blow passed me on my right, even though they were in the left turn lane.

Who was in the wrong for the confusion, who was being unsafe?

I'm not sure intersection rules apply here. Should I have yielded because they are on my right?

Here is a road like the one I was on with the cars in the positions I'm talking about.

I would be the blue one:

enter image description here

  • 3
    If you pull out from a minor road into a major road in front of traffic you are in the wrong - end of. Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 10:16
  • 4
    This isn't an intersection, more like a driveway. You don't have right of way at all.
    – pboss3010
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 11:53
  • Looks like I was in the wrong. I'm sorry to everyone who had to put up with me not knowing. I should have known I didn't have the right of way because of the stop sign/line, I should stay stopped until my path for the left turn is safely clear. I'm refreshing on these rules since someone recently said my driving is bad, and now I had this negative experience that made me feel ashamed for causing confusion/danger. Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 13:50
  • @pboss3010 The driveway analogy is really helpful, because I know full well that I don't have the right of way out of my driveway, thinking of a minor road that way will help me remember. Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 13:50
  • you are mixing up the rules for 4-way stops with general right of way issues.
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


You broke so many rules

  • At “T” intersections without “STOP” or “YIELD” signs, yield to traffic and pedestrians on the through road. They have the right-of-way.
  • When you turn left, give the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching that are close enough to be dangerous.
  • If you have parked on the side of the road or are leaving a parking lot, etc., yield to traffic before reentering the road.

But there was no collision so, no harm, no foul.


Dale's answer pretty much covers it, but I do want to point out one additional thing. You stated in your question that:

...the driver gestures frustratedly for me to go, so I do, and then they blow passed me on my right, even though they were in the left turn lane.

This kind of thing is what can cause some major accidents. That other driver has absolutely no control over every other vehicle on the road and as a result, those other drivers are not necessarily aware that there will be a breach in the default right-of-way rules to accommodate your maneuver.

From a purely legal standpoint, the act of waving you forward does push some liability onto the other driver (in NJ). Same goes for Virginia, too. Not sure about California, though.

Legality aside, being legally correct is not better than being dead and that is absolutely what can happen with a t-bone type collision. So in the future, try to not get flustered in those situations and simply default to the standard right-of-way conventions. It's much safer for everyone.

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