Monday, March 1, 2010

Attn: Drivers of Cache Valley

If you find yourself at a four-way stop wanting to go straight and you see the car across from you wants to turn left, you SHOULD NOT wait for them to turn in front of you. Left-turners must yield to straight-goers. You may think you're being nice, but you are actually...
  • disrespecting the drivers waiting behind you,
  • slowing down the whole intersection, and
  • creating doubt and confusion city-wide as your habit spreads to other drivers.
Here is a snapshot from the Utah Driver Handbook (pg. 13):

It is not only illegal to let the left-turner go first, it is also much less efficient. The correct way has both of you out of the intersection more quickly. Plus, if we all follow the same standard there won't be any need to wonder what that other driver is going to do.

(Pass this along to anyone you know in Cache Valley)

7 comments:

Jinx said...

Aaaaa-men!! One of my biggest pet peeves in driving is people who mess up flow by trying to give up their right of way by waving people on!!

Diana said...

Isn't it the first person who reaches the stopline goes first or something like that? Or, is this saying, if in an incident the person who wants to turn left, and the person who wants to go straight approach the line at the same time then the straight gets to go first? Because, what if there are three people wanting to go straight. Do they all get to go before the left turner???

You should come up to Seattle. There are hardly any 4way stops, just a bunch of round abouts where I live. Round abouts should be easy, and they usually are, but some make it so difficult, by stopping in the roundabout to let someone else in. No, no. Just keep going, they'll tag in behind you.

MidSpeck said...

Sorry -- not entirely true. I wanted to make three comments:
1) If you both arrive across from each other at a four-way stop, Utah code is unclear as to which vehicle should go first. So in this case, the rule you mention is active and the vehicle going straight gets the right-of-way. [1]
2) However, if you arrive at the intersection before the vehicle across from you, you get to go first, and the vehicle going straight must yield to you since you entered the intersection first. [2]
3) Notice the reference picture shows an unregulated intersection without any stop signs. The picture just above it in the manual shows stop signs.

[1] Utah Code, Title 41, Chapter 6a, Section 903(1)
[2] Utah Code, Title 41, Chapter 6a, Section 902(2)(b)

Thaddeus said...

Diana, for an unregulated intersection three straights could go before the left, unless there is a large enough gap between cars. But I'm talking about a 4-way stop, so only one straight-goer in this scenario.

MidSpeck, you sly fellow. You should be a lawyer. I should have specified that this problem crops up in Logan mainly at busy four-way stops where two opposite cars cross at a time. Thus they always 'arrive' simultaneously as they wait for cars on their right and left to pass out of the intersection.

We could avoid the whole debate by moving to India.

MidSpeck said...

Ah, makes sense. In that case, yes, you are absolutely right.

Jinx said...

Yes, yes. If the left turner gets there first and has come to their complete stop and is ready to go before the straight goer, the left turner definitely has the right-of-way.

An even MORE obnoxious situation is when people at a 4-way get in a round-robin situation (something I saw more than once at Logan 4-way stops) where instead of opposite-facing cars going 2-at-a-time, you get a bizarre 1-at-a-time pinwheel happening.

Kendra said...

The problem I observed most in Cache Valley was not people waiting to 'allow' people to turn left first, but the left-turners agressively taking the right away. I had to slam on my brakes several times at 4-way stops because the car across from me (and yes we were there together inching our ways towards our respective front of the line), and they just jetted out to turn left.

That even happened to me multiple times at a stop light, where the person gunned it to turn left in front of me when the light turned green.

I wanted an airhorn and a flashing sign that said "YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT AWAY!!!"

Thank you, Thad, for trying to set the drivers straight!