Give way rules apply at all intersections no matter if the intersection is controlled by STOP or Give Way signs.  Give way rules still apply at roundabouts and even at intersections or crossroads, where there are no lines or signs.  Did you know that according to the Bureau of Statistics, almost half of the road crashes in NSW occur at intersections.  Intersections should never be rushed.  Whether or not you have to STOP or Give Way, you should always take your time to ensure it’s safe to proceed.

Some crossroads may not have traffic control lights or signs. If you’re turning across the path of another vehicle, you must give way.  Anytime that you turn at an intersection, you must give way to:

  • Oncoming vehicles going straight ahead (if you are turning right).
  • Oncoming vehicles turning left (if you are turning right).
  • Any vehicle on your right (if you are turning left or right).

If you and an oncoming vehicle are turning right at an intersection (across the path of one another), both vehicles should pass in front of each other.

4-Way Intersections

Give way rules at 4-way intersections, always seem to not just confuse learner drivers, but also experienced drivers.  We have found that many learner drivers aren’t sure who gives way or who has right of way and become somewhat ‘flustered’.

  • If you approach a 4-way intersection at the same time as a vehicle who is approaching from your right and they appear to be travelling straight ahead, give way to your right.
  • If you approach a 4-way intersection at the same time as a vehicle who is approaching from your left and right and both appear to be travelling straight ahead, give way to both.
  • If you approach a 4-way intersection at the same time as a vehicle opposite you who appears to be turning right, they give way to you no matter if you are travelling straight or turning left.
  • If you approach a 4-way intersection at the same time as a vehicle opposite you who appears to be turning left and you intend on turning right (same direction as the opposite vehicle), they have right of way as they are closest to the kerb.
  • If you approach a 4-way intersection at the same time as a vehicle who appears to be turning right (your left) and you intend on turning right (their left), you can both proceed by passing in front of one another.
  • If you approach a 4-way intersection at the same time as a vehicle to your left and who appears to be travelling straight ahead or turning left or right, they give way to you.

This generally applies when vehicles approach the STOP sign or line at the same time.  Which ever vehicle approached first, they generally have the right of way.

Another common problem we find is that learner drivers get confused with the ‘Give Way to your right rule’.  When leaving a road and there is another vehicle waiting to turn, many learners will slow right down and/or come to a stop thinking they have to give way to the vehicle ready to enter the road their turning off. See below example.   

In this situation, the grey vehicle waiting to turn must give way to the blue car turning right.  However, never assume that the other vehicle will apply the give way rule and ensure they wait to give way to you when making the turn.  A rather simple and non-complex way of thinking about applying the give way rule is like this.  Assume you are travelling along a stretch of road, that’s ‘your’ road.  Anyone who wishes to enter ‘your’ road, must give way to you.  No matter if they are leaving a driveway, leaving the kerb to enter the lane of traffic or turning from a side street, they must apply the give way rule and give way to you.

Now assume you are turning off that stretch of road, any vehicle waiting to turn from the road you intend to enter, must give way to you first.  Once you turn onto the new road, that’s ‘your’ road and the same give way rule applies.

If you are not familiar with the give way rules, it is a good idea to do some research so that you understand who has right of way at intersections.  Another good idea is to stop near a busy intersection and watch the traffic.  Not only will you get a better understanding of how the give way rule applies, you will probably also see how many drivers simply ignore STOP signs and fail to obey the road rules. Like anything, the more you do the better you become so practice and repeat so that you will feel more confident and competent when entering and exiting intersections.