Crossroads tutorial

When two roads cross each other, they form a crossroads. The general rule for crossroads is cars turning right have to give way. You must however anticipate what other road users are doing as not everyone follows these rules. There are various types of crossroads you will need to become familiar with.

Unmarked crossroads

Unmarked crossroads have no road markings. Usually found in quiet urban back roads or rural roads. When emerging at unmarked crossroads neither road is the major road therefore neither has priority. These type of crossroads can be difficult to spot and as a result can be dangerous. Whilst driving in areas where unmarked crossroads may be present, remain vigilant and cautious. Unmarked crossroads can often be very closed and difficult to see if opposite roads are clear.

Unmarked crossroads

 

Marked crossroads

These type of crossroads have the priority defined by road markings and perhaps a Give Way sign. If there are no vehicles emerging from the opposite road, the method used for turning left or right would be exactly the same as a T junction. The only difference in this situation is as it is a crossroads, extra care would be needed to ensure hazards that are difficult to see such as cyclists are not emerging from the opposite road.

Marked crossroads

 

Controlled crossroads

Controlled crossroads use traffic lights to determine who stops and who goes. If you are turning right, you may need to be prepared to give way to oncoming vehicles. Providing your exit is clear, slowly pull out to your point of turn and wait till the road opposite is clear. On certain occasions however, a green filter arrow light may be present. If so, this will give you priority to proceed. Whether you have priority or not at any crossroads, observation must be taken to all exits to ensure they are clear.

Controlled crossroads

 

Staggered crossroads

In this diagram, the red car is turning right and the yellow car is going straight. The driver of the red car needs to ensure they do not pull forward too far else the road will be blocked for the yellow car. Extra caution needs to be taken at staggered crossroads to assess who will go first. Remember the general rule is that cars turning right give way to oncoming cars. At staggered crossroads although this rule still applies, remain cautious. Assess the speed at which the opposing vehicles moves off. Does it look like they intend to slow down and give way? If not then give way to them.

Staggered crossroads

 

Turning nearside to nearside at a crossroads

When approaching a crossroads, you may well have an oncoming vehicle also wanting to turn right from the opposite direction. As both vehicles are turning right, no one has priority. By far the most common way to turn is nearside to nearside. This technique although common is not the safest due to the car in front obscuring the road ahead. Turning nearside to nearside may not always be appropriate. At a staggered crossroads for example, offside to offside may be appropriate. See the staggered crossroads diagram below for more information.

Turning nearside to nearside at as crossroads

 

Turning offside to offside at a crossroads

Although the least common, offside to offside is the safest technique to turn at crossroads. Using this technique allows you to see the road ahead and establish if it is clear to proceed. The downside of this technique is if there are two or more cars waiting to turn to your right, if they are waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, you will be unable to make progress until they have gone. Road markings can also dictate which method to use.

Turning offside to offside at a crossroads

 

Staggered crossroads turning offside to offside

In this situation the two cars turning right use the offside to offside technique. Although the least common technique used for turning, in this situation it is the safest and most appropriate method.

Staggered crossroads turning offside to offside

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