How to Stop At an All-Way Stop Sign

January 15, 2021

Stop signs are all over New York roads like white on rice. Not to mention, most road test sites have tons of these signs. Seaview, for example, has 20 to 30 stop signs.

Therefore, it’s important to know exactly what to do when you reach an all-way stop sign. In this post, we’ll discuss what a stop sign is, how to stop at this sign and who has the right of way at the stop sign.

To make it easy to understand, there’s a video from a top driving instructor here at Pierre Paul Driving School.

Let’s dive in.

What is a STOP Sign?

A stop sign is a traffic regulation signage used to signal to the drivers that they should stop. It is usually a red octagon with a white border and STOP written in large capital letters.

The STOP sign assigns your vehicle the right of way at an intersection. Nobody will be inconvenienced if every driver observes and obeys the STOP signs installed in the right places.

At an All-Way Stop intersection, the STOP sign plays a significant role in ensuring that it flows smoothly without hitches. In this case, the stop sign should have an additional “all-way” plaque under the STOP sign to alert the drivers that this particular intersection is an all-way.

In the rural areas, flashing beacons are at times used to help in getting the drivers’ attention to the STOP signs.

How to Stop at an All-Way Sign

If you are a new driver, you can be confused at an intersection. You have probably learned about when to give the right of way, but what you may not understand is how to stop at an All-way sign. That comes before you even think of who has the right of way.

Whether there is traffic or not at the Seaview area, an examiner would be much interested in watching how you approach, stop, and cross an all-way intersection. Not to be overlooked is how you actually respond to the STOP sign so learn all you can about the STOP sign before the test day.

So, how do you stop? The following guidelines should help you the next time you approach an all-way sign:

  1. Stop At The STOP Sign

Make the first stop right at the stop sign. This is right before the zebra crossing. You need to stop here so that the pedestrians (if any) can pass.

  • Move Closer To The Intersection

Make the second stop closer to the intersection or over the crosswalk to observe the traffic. Over here, everybody can see everyone. If you stop too far, other drivers may not be able to see you. Hence, they will drive along even if you have the right of way.

  • Observe Your Blind Spot

Pay attention to the blind spot (left, in this case), which is the danger zone the traffic is coming from. When nothing is coming on your left, make the turn. But not so fast: you have to follow the usual traffic guidelines before you make the turn.

For instance, signal your intention so that you do not catch anyone unaware.

Who Has The Right Of Way At An All-Way Intersection?

Nearly half of all vehicle crashes occur at intersections, according to NHTSA.

And what are the reasons why these accidents happen?

1. Drivers running red lights or STOP signs. This alone caused close to 10,500 deaths in the USA in 2017.

2. Speeding.

3. Aggressive driving.

4. Crossing over.

5. Absent-mindedness at an intersection.

Unfortunately, many drivers do not believe fatal accidents can happen at an intersection. That is why the war about who has the right of way at the intersection still rages.

So who has the right of way?

First, note that, ordinarily, every car in whichever direction must come to a full stop at an all-way STOP sign. With that out of the way, the preceding rules are as follows:

  • The first car to stop should be the first to go, regardless of its moving direction.
  • However, if one or more cars stopped simultaneously, the car to the left has to yield the right of way to the car on the far right.
  • Again, if all cars stopped at the same time, the first car to move should be given the right of way. This is meant to avoid confusion, so even if you feel rule number (ii) favors you, do not drive once another car has made the first move. Only one vehicle should enter the intersection at any given time, regardless of what the rule says.
  • There are situations where cars from one section are not expected to stop, so no STOP sign is installed on the road ride. You will still have to observe other applicable intersection rules before crossing.

If you are on the section with a STOP sign, you have to yield to all the traffic on the other three sections before you move. It doesn’t matter whether you came first or last; simply stop and wait.

 In short, any driver who encounters a STOP sign in his side must stop and yield to the rest.

  • What if two cars at an all-way intersection are across from each other all at the same time, and none of them has the right of way? They can all go at the same time if they are going in the same direction. But if one is to make a turn while the other is going straight, the one going straight has the right of way.

Wrap Up

The best way to safely come out of an all-way stop is to communicate effectively. It is easy to assume that other road users are aware of your obvious next moves, so you see no need to communicate through the signals.

Every time you want to assume, remember that many accidents occur at the intersection, as we have already learned. Stop when you should stop and only proceed when the coast is clear. If an aggressive driver breaks the intersection rules, do not catch his flue to teach him a lesson. Just yield to him even if you know you have the right of way.

At Pierre Paul Driving School, we teach you the best driving habits that will keep you safe on the road. We never overlook any aspect of driving, even seemingly minor ones such as how to stop at an all-way stop sign prior to crossing or making a turn at an intersection.

In our 5 hour class online, we teach you different defensive driving techniques that will make you master driving and pass your road test the very first time. Book today to start your journey towards getting a NY driver’s license.