3 and 4 Way Intersections: Quick Review of the Rules

February 15, 2014 at 11:08 PM

When you are driving on the roads of New Zealand, it is important for you to understand all of the rules of the road and to observe them carefully.

Many people are confused regarding the rules relating to three and four way stop intersections. If a driver at an intersection does not know or understand the law, they may cause a serious crash.


Image source:  www.stuff.co.nz

A driving instructor will tell you that if a car would hit your driver’s side door in a collision then you should give way to that vehicle. Whether you are at a three way or a four way intersection, it will usually have either a give way sign or a stop sign.

In the case of uncontrolled intersections any traffic that is turning left has the right of way over any traffic turning to the right.

Approaching Intersections

As you approach an intersection, you must slow down and come to a stop. Once you have stopped at the intersection, you need to survey the scene.

If you are turning, use your turn indicator for at least three seconds and remember that you must always give way to any vehicles that are not turning.

If you are making a right turn you must give way to vehicles that are approaching you including any that are making a left turn. This rule applies whether or not there are signals and signs and both vehicles are facing one another.

Signs in Intersections

A Stop sign at an intersection requires you to stop and wait until you have a clear path before proceeding. It is mandatory to make a stop at a Stop sign, no matter what the time of day, even if there is no other traffic in sight.

Image source: www.waimakariri.govt.nz

Traffic lights at intersections may vary. Some traffic lights have a red arrow which means you must stop before turning in the direction of the arrow.

If all signals are flashing Orange, it means that the traffic signals are not working correctly and you should proceed with caution, using the Give Way procedure.

Give Way signs require a vehicle to yield the right of way to other vehicles where there are no stop signs. It is not mandatory for you to stop your vehicle, but it is definitely recommended because Give Way signs are usually placed at busy intersections where a clear view is limited.

The Give Way Rules - Who Goes First?

When you arrive at an intersection, you must yield to any vehicles coming from your right side. It does not matter who arrived at the intersection first, the vehicle on the right side of you has the right of way.

Here is an excellent representation:

Image source: Otago Daily Times

If you are turning right, you must give way to every other vehicle in the intersection. Traffic that is turning left has the right of way over any traffic that is turning to the right.

When two vehicles are both turning right, neither one has to give way, they both just turn because they pass one another. A vehicle that is turning must give way to all traffic that is not turning.

Always use caution when approaching intersections and know the procedures to follow.

It could save your life and prevent an accident.

Category: Road Rules