Crossroads are junctions where two roads cross. They can be confusing and intimidating to navigate for learners and experienced drivers alike, which means they can be dangerous.
There’s no need to worry, however, as simply by learning about priorities and who has right of way, you’ll be on your way to navigating crossroads safely and with confidence.
The rules for right of way at a crossroads are similar to the rules for left and right turns, and for T-junctions.
Generally speaking, if you’re crossing the lane of another vehicle, that vehicle will have priority.
This may vary according to signs and road markings, so be aware of any specific rules for the junction in question.
If you’re approaching a crossroads to turn into a side road, the procedure is slightly different to that at a T or Y junction. You have priority over traffic from the side road, but it is still important to pay close attention to what other drivers are doing.
Traffic might emerge from either of the two side roads, crossing your path, so proceed carefully.
If you’re turning right, there may be an oncoming vehicle that is also trying to turn right, in which case neither you or the other driver has priority. Although in this instance it is safest to turn offside to offside so that you have a clear view of oncoming traffic, drivers usually turn nearside to nearside.
However, there may be road markings present that tell you which method to use.
When emerging from a crossroads, oncoming traffic has right of way over traffic that’s turning right. Even if you don’t have priority, the other driver may want you to proceed before them, so try to watch carefully and work out what they are planning. In a situation where neither vehicle has priority, the first driver to arrive at the crossroads would usually be the one to proceed first.
Again, keep an eye on what the other driver is doing and try to anticipate their actions. Some situations may mean the other driver lets you go first even though they have priority; for example, their progress may be blocked by a queue of traffic. Pay attention and use your best judgement.
If you’re emerging at a staggered crossroads, the priorities might be unclear, so use extra caution.
At an unmarked crossroads, neither road is given status as the major road, so you should proceed with care and be ready to stop.