How to Handle a 4-Way Stop

by Contributor

Driving through most towns and cities brings you to a 4-way stop at some point. Whether it is at a stop sign or a red light, 4-way stops can confuse some of the most experienced drivers. There is only one set of rules that applies to 4-way stops, although many people don't follow them. Learn how to handle a 4-way stop by following these steps.

Slow your vehicle when approaching a 4-way stop. As you stop at the stop sign or red light, notice if there are any cars at any of the other stops, or if there are any approaching at the same time.

Stop your vehicle completely. This means that your tires are completely stopped and not rolling at all. If there are cross walk lines or painted indicators on the road, stop at the appropriate lines. If it is a stop sign and there are no lines on the road, stop when the front of your car is even with the stop sign. If there is something blocking your view of the other stops signs, you may move forward only after stopping completely at your own stop sign.

Look at the other stops to see if there are any other vehicles stopped or moving. The vehicles leave the stop signs in the same order in which they arrived. The first vehicle to arrive at a complete stop is the first vehicle allowed to leave the stop sign.

Know that if there is more than one vehicle arriving at the same time at the 4-way stop, the vehicle furthest to the right is allowed to leave first. Always allow at least a few seconds to make sure no one else takes off even if it your turn to leave first. Many people do not follow this rule, even though it is the legal way to leave a 4-way stop.

Tips

  • check If you come to a traffic light that is completely out, treat it as a stop sign. Any intersection or red light becomes a 4-way stop if the lights are not working.
  • check Only one car is allowed to leave a stop sign. If there are two or more cars in line at a stop sign, each car must stop at the stop sign as if no one else was there.

About the Author

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