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Navigating Junctions: Understanding the Right of Way

Driving can be a challenging and stressful task, particularly when it comes to navigating junctions. Knowing who has the right of way can be confusing and can lead to accidents if not understood correctly. In this article, we’ll discuss the rules of giving way at different types of junctions to help you navigate them with confidence.

How Do You Give Way at the Junction?

Giving way at a junction means letting other drivers go before you. It’s important to remember that you should always be prepared to give way, even if you have the right of way. Always approach a junction with caution and be prepared to stop if necessary.

  • What Are the Primary Rules for the Right Way

In the United Kingdom, there are two primary principles for determining who has right of way:

  • Drivers on major roads receive priority over those on minor roads.
  • Priority is given to vehicles travelling straight ahead or turning left. This means that drivers turning right will have to wait for a space in traffic before proceeding.

Both rules apply at the same time, so there are a few things to consider when you get to a fork in the road. Let’s see what happens.

  • Who Has the Right of Way at T-Junctions?

A T-junction is the intersection of two roadways which form a ‘T’ shape. One route will always be more dominating, or ‘major’ than the other. So firstly, determine whether you’re travelling on the major route or a minor one.

  • Travelling on the Major Road

Remember that you have priority over traffic entering your road under our two regulations. However, if you want to turn right at the T-junction, you must yield to oncoming traffic.

You should also keep an eye out for automobiles coming from minor roads. If a vehicle has just pulled out in front of you, it may take some time for them to catch up. However, even though you have the right of way, it’s important to remain cautious and aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for any vehicles that may be entering from a side road or driveway, especially if there are no stop signs or traffic signals to control the flow of traffic.

  • Emerging from the Minor Road

When driving on a minor road and need to enter a main route, you must surrender to traffic on the big road. This means you must come to a complete stop before entering the primary road.

Check your mirrors and look in both directions before entering the major route. If there is a stop sign or traffic signal, obey it and only enter the major route when it is your turn.

Even if there are no automobiles in sight, it is critical to remain patient and not hurry into the main road. Always be prepared to come to a complete stop and surrender the right of way to any cars on the main road, as they have priority and may be moving at a faster pace than you.

Who has Priority at Crossroads?

At crossroads, there are three types: controlled, marked, and unmarked. Each type has different rules for right of way.

  • Controlled: At controlled crossroads, traffic lights or other signs indicate who has the right of way. You must follow the signs and signals.
  • Marked: At marked crossroads, there are road markings to indicate who has priority. A driver on the road with the solid line has priority over drivers on the road with the broken line.
  • Unmarked: At unmarked crossroads, there are no road markings or signs to indicate who has priority. In this case, the right-hand rule applies. If two or more drivers arrive at the same time, the driver on the right has priority.

Who Has the Right of Way at a Roundabout?

Roundabouts are a form of junction that helps keep traffic moving and safe at busy intersections. They’re very widespread in the UK, and there are several different sorts to be wary of. However, regardless of the layout, there is a simple rule for determining who has priority at a roundabout: on your approach, you must yield to traffic already on the circle.

Because we drive clockwise around roundabouts in the UK, you should always give way to vehicles coming from your right. You should usually yield to any traffic that has rounded the bend towards you, regardless of which lane they are in, because they may change lanes at any time.

Enter the roundabout only when it is safe to do so without causing other traffic to brake. With practice, you’ll get better at judging this. Take a look at:

  • Their proximity to you
  • Signals such as indicators, lane and road position indicate that they intend to depart the roundabout before they reach you.
  • Their speed

You normally don’t have to give way to anyone once you’re on the circle. However, there may be road markings and signage stating differently, so keep an eye out just in case.

  • Mini Roundabouts

It’s the same situation regardless of roundabout size. Give way to anyone who is already travelling around a tiny roundabout. However, due to your near closeness to other drivers, you must likewise yield to anyone approaching the roundabout from your immediate right.

Nobody has priority where there are drivers at all entrances. Eye contact and caution are required here. Try to figure out each other’s intentions but be ready to back off if you misinterpret the indications.

  • Traffic Lights at Roundabouts

Larger roundabouts are sometimes controlled by traffic lights. They may not always be in use; some only work during peak hours. If your roundabout crossing has a unique set of operational traffic lights, you simply need to follow the traffic light rules. They will direct you into and through the roundabout, and when you stop at a red light, you are obligated to yield to oncoming vehicles.

When it comes to traffic light location, be extremely cautious. On your journey to a roundabout, you may encounter traffic lights, but not at the actual give way point. If this is the case, you must still yield before entering the roundabout. If there are road markings, use them to your advantage.


Left Lane Filters

Some roundabouts have left lane filters, which allow drivers in the left lane to turn left without going around the roundabout. You should give way to any traffic already on the roundabout, but you don’t need to give way to traffic in the right-hand lane.

Merging from Slip Roads

Some roundabouts have slip roads, which allow traffic to join the roundabout from a separate lane. When merging from a slip road, you must give way to traffic already on the roundabout. You should also signal your intention to join the roundabout and choose the correct lane.

Left Lane Filters

Our Verdict

Understanding the right of way at various sorts of junctions can be difficult. It is critical to proceed with caution at all intersections and to be prepared to yield if necessary. Remember the primary rule of right of way: the driver who arrives at the intersection first has priority. By adhering to traffic laws and being alert of other drivers.

Frequently Asked Questions
Other road users to be aware of at junctions are included in Highway Code Rule 170. It particularly says, in addition to pedestrians:

  • Cyclists
  • Motorcyclists
  • Those who use motorised wheelchairs or mobility scooters
  • Horseback riders
  • Vehicles that are quite long

Some of them are vulnerable owing to their exposure, while others may take a different path than expected. Lorries, for example, require greater space for manoeuvring and may take the entire width of the road when turning.

Most intersections just ask you to give way rather than stop fully. However, you must travel slowly enough to be able to stop if vehicles approach. You must stop if there is a stop sign or a strong white line on the road. You will also need to halt at a blocked junction because you won’t be able to see very far ahead. You may need to use the ‘creep and peek’ strategy, going gently out until you can determine if your road is clear to make your turn.
Never presume that a driver will perform what their indicators indicate. If the car is far enough away that you may safely join its road, do so. Alternatively, wait until the motorist begins to turn. In either case, keep an eye out for anyone overtaking the car at the intersection.

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