From city streets to rural roads, 4-way stops are a common sight throughout Saskatchewan. Less common, however, is an understanding of how to safely navigate these traffic controls.
Four-way stops are often challenging for drivers because of the number of different situations that can arise:
- If yours is the only car at the intersection, you simply come to a complete stop and proceed when it is safe to do so.
- When 2 vehicles are stopped at an intersection, the 1 that arrived first has the right-of-way. That doesn't mean, though, that you should race to the stop sign.
- Things get slightly more complicated when 2 vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time. If the vehicles are travelling on intersecting streets, the driver on the right should go first.
- But when vehicles are going in opposite directions on the same road, the drivers can proceed at the same time. If 1 of the vehicles is turning left, then the driver making the turn must yield the right-of-way to the driver going straight.
- Who goes 1st when 4 vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time? There's no written law that dictates this situation, so common courtesy and a bit of patience are your best allies.
- After 1 vehicle crosses the intersection, the remaining 3 simply yield the right-of-way to the driver on their right. Just be sure to use extra caution when proceeding because not every driver understands 4-way stop protocol, especially in this case.
Regardless of the scenario at a 4-way stop, all drivers must yield to pedestrians who are crossing at marked or unmarked crosswalks. Cyclists walking beside their bikes are considered pedestrians as well, while those riding on the road should be treated as vehicles.
When in doubt, your best bet is to wait at the stop sign until you're certain it's safe to continue on. Impatient drivers often cause collisions and 4-way stops are where you'll find many of them. Taking your time will help you avoid a dangerous and embarrassing collision.