Ask Capt. Oliveira: Uncontrolled 4-Way Stops

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

“We have a four-way intersection in our area, Harwood and Irongate ways. Should this intersection be treated as a four-way uncontrolled intersection?”

—Raul L.

Dear Reader,

Image of three vehicles approaching a three-way intersection. It reads "What's the correct order?" Each car is numbered 1-2-3.

2-3-1: Vehicle #3 must wait for Vehicle #2 to pass by before turning. Meanwhile, Vehicle #1 must wait for Vehicle #3 to complete its turn before it can proceed to turn left on the through street.

California Vehicle Code 21800 addresses the right of way at uncontrolled intersections, which would apply to the intersection of Harwood Way and Irongate Way.

When you approach an uncontrolled intersection, you are to treat it as if there was a yield sign present. You should slow down and ensure there is no oncoming traffic. Once it’s safe you can proceed through the intersection.

If you arrive at the intersection at the same time as another vehicle, you must give the right-of-way to the vehicle that arrived at the intersection first. If you and another driver arrive simultaneously, the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.

When it comes to 3-way intersections, vehicles on the through street have the right-of-way, meaning the vehicle approaching from the terminating street must yield to traffic. A terminating street is where the street intersects, but does not continue beyond the intersection.

Not everyone understands the rules regarding these intersections, so be cautious and remember you always have the option to relinquish that right of way if you think it would be safer to allow the other vehicle to go first.

Check out the graphic and decide what the correct order is. The answer is noted in the caption.

This DMV video also provide some clarification regarding the right of way at intersections

—Capt. Oliveira

Capt. Steve Oliveira oversees the Sacramento Police Dept.’s north-area command, which includes Natomas. To submit your questions to Capt. Oliveira, send an email to [email protected] with “Ask Capt. Oliveira” in the subject line.

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