5 General Rules to Help Navigate a Four-Way Stop
Lafayette traffic was quite the mess yesterday afternoon after torrential rains flooded main roadways and also knocked out power to some of the traffic lights.
Every time we have traffic signal light malfunctions, we are flooded by calls complaining that people around here don't know how to properly proceed through the intersection.
So we figured now might be a good time to share some handy tips on how to handle the makeshift four-way stop.
One thing we should all do is to slow down and come to a complete stop. Then you can look around and assess to see what else is happening at the intersection.
After that, apply these five general rules regarding four-way stops:
Pedestrians have the right away
At four-way stops, pedestrians have priority over vehicles and should always be allowed to proceed first.
First to arrive, first to go
This is a simple concept but can get a bit tricky when there are a lot of cars and a lot of lanes. The first car to pull up at the stop sign is the first car to go. If cars are stopping at different times, each should proceed through in the order they arrived. And it doesn't matter which direction a car is going, just wait your turn.
In a tie, yield to the car on your right
If two cars pull up to the intersection at the same time, the car to the right typically goes first.
Straight before turns
If two cars are across the intersection from each other at the same time, and no car is on the right of the other, it depends on the traveling direction of the two cars. It both are going straight, they can go at the same time with no problem. If one vehicle is turning and one is going straight, then the right-of-way goes to the car going straight.
Right then left
If two cars are directly across from each other and pull up to the four-way stop at the same time and one is turning right and the other left, the right-of-way goes to the vehicle turning right.
Of course, all these rules are great in theory, but we all know that lots of drivers don't seem to follow any of the aforementioned. If you come across a careless or aggressive driver, it's always best to simply yield to them, even if you had the right-of-way.
Furthermore, we all know that many times when a light goes out in Lafayette, for example, it's a major intersection with lots of lanes. Sometimes each side could have two lanes going straight and another turning lane or two.
That can get real tricky and is usually when all hell breaks loose (pardon our French). Just do your best to implement the tips above and pack your patience, given that other drivers left theirs at home or work well before they got on the road.