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WPI 70.02 Right of Way—Uncontrolled Intersection

6 WAPRAC WPI 70.02Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 70.02 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part VIII. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 70. Motor Vehicles
WPI 70.02 Right of Way—Uncontrolled Intersection
A statute provides that when two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different streets or roadways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right. This right of way, however, is not absolute but relative, and the duty to exercise ordinary care to avoid collisions at intersections rests upon both drivers. The primary duty, however, rests upon the driver on the left, which duty must be performed with reasonable regard to the maintenance of a fair margin of safety at all times.
Use this instruction in cases involving uncontrolled intersections. Use WPI 60.03 (Violation of Statute, Ordinance, Administrative Rule, or Internal Governmental Policy—Evidence of Negligence) with this instruction.
RCW 46.61.180(1). The statute applies when two vehicles approach or enter the intersection from different highways at approximately the same time.
RCW 46.61.180 was amended in 2019 to add additional sections stipulating enhanced penalties in some circumstances for a traffic infraction arising out of the conduct now included, without change, within subsection (1). Laws 2019, Chapter 403, § 5. There is no proposed change to the instruction.
If a collision occurs within an intersection, the statute applies as a matter of law. Chavers v. Ohad, 59 Wn.2d 646, 369 P.2d 831 (1962); Zorich v. Billingsley, 52 Wn.2d 138, 324 P.2d 255 (1958), superseded on other grounds, Cox v. Gen. Motors, 64 Wn.App. 823, 827 P.2d 1052 (1992) (discussing earlier version of the statute). Even if the actual collision occurred outside the bounds of the intersection, the driver on the left is liable if he or she failed to yield the right of way with reasonable regard to maintaining a fair margin of safety. Tobias v. Rainwater, 71 Wn.2d 845, 431 P.2d 156 (1967); accord Axness v. Edwards, 9 Wn.App. 780, 515 P.2d 174 (1973).
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, 275–76, 818 P.2d 622 (1991); Maxwell v. Piper, 92 Wn.App. 471, 476, 963 P.2d 941 (1998).
[Current as of February 2021.]
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