Car Driver Motorcycle Pedestrian Immediate Hazard Definition & Laws

  • Cal. Veh. Code § 552 reads as follows: The driver of any vehicle which has stopped as required by this code at the entrance to a through highway shall yield the right of way to other vehicles which have entered the intersection from the through highway or which are approaching so closely on the through highway as to constitute an immediate hazard, but said driver having so yielded may proceed and the drivers of all other vehicles approaching the intersection on the through highway shall yield the right of way to the vehicle so about to enter or cross the through highway. Wilkinson v. Marcellus, 51 Cal. App. 2d 630. 

  • “It is to be noted that the legislature has not set a hard and fast rule for the conduct of drivers approaching through highways but has provided the general rule that such drivers must yield the right of way to others traveling on the highway who are approaching so closely as to constitute ‘an immediate hazard.’ Our complex traffic problems are such that the circumstances of the traffic on a through highway as a driver approaches must govern his conduct in determining whether it is an immediate hazard. Whether a driver acts with due care or negligently in proceeding across a through highway must as a general rule be left to the determination of the jury in view of all the circumstances.” (Wilkinson v. Marcellus (1952) 51 Cal.App.2d 630, 633 [125 P.2d 584].)

  • At least one court has held that the term “immediate hazard” should be defined for the jury if a party so requests. (Hickenbottom v. Jeppesen (1956) 144 Cal.App.2d 115, 121 [300 P.2d 689].) However, any error in failing to define the term will be considered harmless if other instructions cover that point: “The words ‘immediate hazard’ seem reasonably clear in the context in which they appear, both in the statute and in the instruction given; the hazard of a collision.” (Ibid.)

  • The legislature has not set a hard and fast rule for he conduct of drivers approaching through highways but has provided the general rule that such drivers must yield the right of way to others traveling on the highway who are approaching so closely as to constitute “an immediate hazard.” California’s complex traffic problems are such that the circumstances of the traffic on a through highway as a driver approaches must govern his conduct in determining whether it is an immediate hazard. Whether a driver acts with due care or negligently in proceeding across a through highway must as a general rule be left to the determination of the jury in view of all the circumstances. Wilkinson v. Marcellus, 51 Cal. App. 2d 630.
  • Whether a motorist acts with due care or negligently in proceeding  across a through highway must generally be left to the jury’s determination in view of all the circumstances. Wilkinson v. Marcellus, 51 Cal. App. 2d 630.

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