California Vehicle Code 21804—Entering Onto a Highway
When entering a highway, you need to use caution and yield to vehicles on the highway so as to avoid a collision. You may place those motorists in jeopardy if they have to take evasive action. In many cases where motorists are ticketed for violating this section, there are defenses available.
CVC Section 21804 states:
“(a) The driver of any vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from any public or private property, or from an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic, as defined in Section 620, approaching on the highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that traffic until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.
(b) A driver having yielded as prescribed in subdivision (a) may proceed to enter or cross the highway, and the drivers of all other vehicles approaching on the highway shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle entering or crossing the intersection.”
This code section is one of several right-of-way laws. These are generally based on common sense so that when you are on the roadway, you are expected to respect the right of others and yield the right-of-way.
Under CVC 21804, you are required to stop when entering the highway from a public or private location or alleyway if there is traffic approaching that is close enough to present a risk of collision.
The code section also extends to vehicles already on the highway, Once you have entered the highway safely, they must yield to you.
Defenses to CVC 21804
The burden of proof in all situations relies on the officer that cited you. For instance, if you were cited by an officer claiming you failed to yield when entering the highway, the officer would have to prove your vehicle entered the roadway illegally. This can give your case an opening to defend the alleged violation.
If the officer had a clear line of sight and personally observed you entering the highway while doing so in an unsafe manner, you may have a more difficult task convincing a judge otherwise.
However, the officer’s accusations may be countered in a few ways:
- You stopped and looked to see if there was approaching traffic. If so, was it close enough to constitute a hazard?
- You yielded to traffic before entering the roadway
- You entered or crossed the highway safely
Your understanding of the situation and the surrounding circumstances is important when it comes to challenging a citation. Though the officer has the discretion to issue a ticket based solely on their perspective alone, your recollection of the situation can play a key role when a violation is under review by a Judge.
Regardless of what the circumstances are, a violation of CVC 21804 could cost you a minimum of $238 and a point on your record.
If you were cited for this violation, our team of experts is here to assist and to take into account your point of view. Reach out to our team today to discuss your options or submit your citation for review.