Do you know the road rules at an uncontrolled intersection?

 Uncontrolled intersection law
Uncontrolled intersection law (KGWN)
Published: Sep. 7, 2017 at 5:03 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

'Who goes first?' Even though it's a lesson all drivers learn before receiving their license, many people still admit that they are unsure who gets the right-of-way when approaching an uncontrolled intersection with oncoming traffic.

Cheyenne Police Department's Sgt. David Janes says he and his wife were recently discussing the issue when they found themselves in a scenario. Janes said even though he was on the busier road, he was still responsible for stopping for the other driver after he reached the intersection. After some confusion, Janes says his wife mentioned that many people may not always know the rules at the particular intersections, and Janes agreed.

Janes says Cheyenne Police see it happen all the time. He added, "It leads to a lot of confusion and frustration and people get into the situation where they get there and they're unsure about it."

Although accidents are not frequent in these intersections that are often located in slower-speed residential areas, Janes says there are several close-call situations.

Other Cheyenne residents we spoke to agreed and say they commonly will slow down and yield to the other driver in order to avoid any collisions. Not knowing if the other driver knows the rules, they assume the safest choice is to be the defensive driver. Others blatantly admitted that they, too, are unsure who gets the right-of-way.

Janes says, whether many are aware or not, there are rules to follow. He says when approaching a four-way intersection with no stop signs, the driver needs to "slow down, yield to the vehicle on the right if you get there at the same time, or the vehicle who enters the intersection first has the right-of-way." He says the rule applies whether or not one road is busier than the other and even if a dip is present or not.

The only time the rule changes is when a person is turning left. Janes said, "Always yield when turning left... If it's (the vehicle) close enough that it's going to hit you while turning left, you have to yield right-of-way to that vehicle." Janes says the left turn is one of the most common types of accidents they see.

However, the police sergeant says most accidents still occur in a controlled intersection, mainly because the driver assumes the other person to follow the signs and signals- which doesn't always happen.

Janes says it's important to make sure you're not becoming too comfortable in areas you're familiar with and assuming another car won't be present at the intersection. He says the best advice is to be a defensive driver.