right of way

right of way

right of way, in land and air traffic and in sea navigation, rules that determine precedence in the use of traffic lanes. The rules are framed in the simplest possible terms and with nearly absolute uniformity in order to minimize the possibility of collisions. In land traffic, railroad trains, military vehicles in convoy, government vehicles (e.g., mail trucks), and emergency vehicles have the right of way over ordinary private vehicles. Rules of sea and air navigation are largely governed by international conventions and law. The term "right of way" is also applied to an easement in gross (e.g., that of a railroad). See air, law of the; maritime law.

Right-of-way or right of way may refer to:

In geography:

  • A situation in which although a parcel of land has a specific private owner, some other party or the public at large has a legal right to traverse that land in some specified manner. The term likewise refers to the land subject to such a right. An easement is an example.
  • A public right-of-way, a right of way which permits the public to travel over it, such as a street, road, sidewalk, or footpath.

In transportation:


  • In fencing, priority granted to the first person to properly execute an attack
  • Right of Way (album), a musical album by Ferry Corsten
  • Legal requirement to obtain permission from the property holder before access is granted (eg: installing telecommunications cable)

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