right of way

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right of way (also right-of-way) • n. 1. the legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass along a specific route through grounds or property belonging to another. ∎  a path or thoroughfare subject to such a right. 2. the legal right of a pedestrian, rider, or driver to proceed with precedence over other road users at a particular point: he waves on other drivers, even when it's not their right of way. ∎  the right of a ship, boat, or aircraft to proceed with precedence over others in a particular situation. 3. the right to build and operate a railroad line, road, or utility on land belonging to another. ∎  the land on which a railroad line, road, or utility is built.

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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.

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Aneasement, a privilege to pass over the land of another, whereby the holder of the easement acquires only a reasonable and usual enjoyment of the property, and the owner of the land retains the benefits and privileges of ownership consistent with the easement.

Right of way is also used to describe that strip of land upon which railroad companies construct their roadbed; in this context, the term refers to the land itself, not the right of passage over it.

The term right of way also refers to a preference of one of two vehicles or vessels, or between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, asserting the right of passage at the same place and time. It is not an absolute right, however, since the possessor of the right of way is not relieved from the duty of exercising due care for her own safety and that of others.

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Right of Way ★★½ 1984

Stewart plays an elderly man who makes a suicide pact with his wife (Davis) when he learns of her terminal illness. Davis and Stewart's first film together is disappointing and stodgy, with an abrupt ending that looks like bad editing by a frightened studio. Made for TV. 102m/C VHS . James Stewart, Bette Davis, Priscilla Morrill, Melinda Dillon; D: George Schaefer; M: Brad Fiedel. TV