Driving Through Intersections
Uncontrolled Intersections

Uncontrolled Intersection. Right-of-Way Rules

Updated Dec. 9, 2019

An uncontrolled intersection is one of the most common types of intersections out there. An uncontrolled intersection is a road intersection with no traffic light or road signs to indicate the right-of-way. This type of intersection is very common for rural and residential areas. Generally, the right-of-way is determined by the order of arrival to the intersection and relative positions of vehicles on the road. While you are not required to come to a complete stop at an uncontrolled intersection in most states, you need to slow down and look out for cross traffic. Approaching from the right does not automatically grant you the right of way and does not excuse you from slowing down before entering the intersection.

Right-of-way At Uncontrolled Intersections

When there are no traffic signals or road signs to help you determine the right-of-way, exercise cautions and use the following simple rules to determine who has the right-of-way.

  • The vehicle that arrived to the intersection first has the right-of-way.
  • If two vehicles arrive at the intersection at roughly the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left must give way to the driver of the vehicle on the right.
  • When making a left turn, yield to all oncoming traffic EVEN if you were the first one to enter the intersection.

Uncontrolled T-intersection

At a T-intersection that is not being controlled by a traffic light or traffic signs, the driver on the terminating road must yield the right-of-way to cross traffic and pedestrians crossing the street. This also applies when you are entering a highway from a driveway or a private road.

What do you do at an uncontrolled intersection?

  1. 1

    Slow downwhen approaching the intersection, even if there is no other traffic in sight (note that some states, such as Arizona, require you to treat any unregulated intersection as a four-way stop intersection and come to a complete stop before going through).

  2. 2

    If there is cross traffic and a vehicle has already entered the intersection, allow the vehicle to safely proceed through

  3. 3

    Look to either side to make sure there are no other vehicles approaching the intersection at high speed.

  4. 4

    If another vehicle arrived at the intersection at the same time as you did and the vehicle is located on your right, give way

  5. 5

    Proceed through the intersection

Remember that the right-of-way does not have to be taken at all times and you may yield it to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

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