Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Failure to yield right of way

Green arrow on red
Failure to yield can lead to serious consequences

Wisconsin law provides the "rules of the road" for proper highway etiquette. Any time you encounter another vehicle, bicyclist or pedestrian, one of you must yield the right of way. If you disobey these rules, you're not only driving aggressively, you're breaking the law.

Red light

Vehicles facing a red light must stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of an intersection or if none, then before entering the intersection and remain stopped until a green light or other signal permits you to go.

  • No pedestrian or bicyclist facing such a signal should enter the roadway unless he or she can do so safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.
  • Vehicles facing a red light at an intersection may, after stopping, cautiously make a right turn into the nearest available lane for traffic moving to the right or turn left from a one-way highway into the nearest available lane of a one-way highway on which vehicular traffic travels to the left.
  • In making a turn on a red light, traffic must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and bicyclists within a crosswalk and to other traffic using the intersection.

Green arrow

Traffic facing a green arrow signal may enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow but must also yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and bicyclists within a crosswalk and to other traffic in the intersection.

Flashing lights

  • Flashing red (stop signal)
    When a red light is flashing, vehicles must stop before proceeding. A flashing red signal acts in much the same way as a stop sign.
  • Flashing yellow (caution signal)
    When a yellow light is flashing, vehicles may proceed through the intersection cautiously.

Pedestrian control signals

  • Walk
    A pedestrian facing a "Walk" signal may cross the roadway in the direction of the signal and the operators of all vehicles must yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian.
  • Don't walk
    No pedestrian may start to cross the roadway in the direction of a "Don't Walk" signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing on the "Walk" signal may continue to a sidewalk or safety zone while a "Don't Walk" signal is showing.

Questions about the content of this page:
Jill Benkert, jill.benkert@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: June 17, 2013

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