VIDEO: Navigating Uncontrolled Intersections

If a fleet driver is accustomed to city driving, a road trip through a rural region may present a welcome respite from urban traffic congestion. On the other hand, he or she is much more likely to encounter uncontrolled intersections, requiring more caution and greater attention to basic right-of-way rules.

Uncontrolled intersections lack any stop or yield signs or traffic lights – and they can be very dangerous places. Why are these intersections unmarked? It’s usually a budget-related decision, as this Iowa TV news report explains. Local government agencies lack the funds to install signage at every intersection.

So fleet drivers traveling straight ahead in a rural residential neighborhood, for example, can’t just assume that vehicles traveling on the cross street they’re approaching have a stop or yield sign. They need to look ahead and identify whether the intersection is controlled or uncontrolled.

Whenever approaching an uncontrolled intersection, drivers need to slow down, check left and right – twice – and then proceed cautiously through the intersection if it’s clear. For a demonstration, click here.

They should never cross an uncontrolled intersection unless they can see that the road is clear in all directions. If they're unsure, then they need to slow down or stop.

After stopping for traffic, the basic intersection right-of-way rules come into play. The first vehicle to stop at the intersection is the first to go. But when two vehicles get to the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first – it has the right-of-way. When two vehicles are directly across from each other, and one is turning left, the one going straight goes first.

The truth is, though, not every motorist is going to be courteous and honor the right-of-way rules. Fleet drivers need to be extra cautious at all uncontrolled intersections – and be prepared to surrender their turn if another driver acts aggressively or absentmindedly.

Always remember, your safety comes first. It’s not worth getting upset if someone else takes your turn.

For additional advice about navigating uncontrolled intersections, click on the photo or link below the headline.