Intersections can bring out the best or the worst in a driver.
At an intersection, traffic is moving in various directions and at different speeds. Vehicles are starting, stopping and turning. Pedestrians are thinking about other things rather than avoiding vehicles. It takes all of your skills and concentration as a driver to successfully negotiate an intersection without a mishap.
It’s quite possible not everyone else is as good a driver as you are, so you need to look out for the other person and give a little.
Here is how the right-of-way is supposed to work in most regions:
The driver approaching the intersection yields the right-of-way to the vehicle which has already entered the intersection.
If two vehicles arrive at an uncontrolled intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on his right.
Drivers yield to pedestrians crossing at intersections or marked crosswalks.
A driver in an intersection trying to turn left yields to vehicles approaching from opposite direction.
A vehicle emerging from a driveway yields to vehicles on the street and pedestrians on the sidewalk. When entering from an alley, side street or driveway, the driver must come to a full stop before crossing the crosswalk or sidewalk. He must look, signal as necessary and wait for traffic to let him in.
All of these rules work well when everyone is paying attention. However, you do not actually have the right-of-way until someone else grants it to you. Communicate – nicely – with other drivers to avoid collisions.
You know what you must do if you have to choose between proving a point about having the right-of-way and avoiding a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian.
These are three ways drivers approach intersections:
A timid driver sees an intersection as a difficult, complex situation, with too many hazards to look out for and too many decisions to make. His indecision is confusing to other drivers and interferes with the smooth flow of traffic.
An aggressive driver sees an intersection as a territorial challenge, and he jealously guards his space, refusing to give another driver a break. If he misses a green light because another vehicle is blocking the way, he feels cheated and angry.
A professional driver is alert, cautious and decisive. The many miles he has logged successfully include countless intersections. However, he maintains a healthy respect for the dangers.
Co-operation rather than conflict is the way to deal with others at intersections. Always yield the right-of-way to avoid an accident. Do someone else a good turn!