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Rules of the road: are you paying attention?

JACKSON, Wyo. – When towns like Jackson get overwhelmed with visitors during warmer months, it’s imperative to know the rules of the road, especially when approaching a four-way stop.

There have been several reports of cyclists blowing through four-way stops in Jackson. Remember that cyclists and motorists share the same rules while on the road.

Four-way stops, like the cluster along Kelly Ave., have shown time and time again that not everyone is sure how they work.

Follow these four rules to a four-way stop to help keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely.

1. First come, first served.

If there is no traffic at a four-way stop, the first car to arrive at the intersection receives the right of way. It doesn’t matter where the vehicle is located or what direction it is traveling, this rule will always apply when someone has clearly arrived at the stop sign first. However, still be aware of aggressive or distracted drivers, or cyclists, that may dismiss this rule.

2. Yield to the right

When two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time and are located side-by-side, the vehicle furthest to the right has the right of way. If three vehicles arrive at the same time, the car furthest left should continue to yield until both of the other cars to the right of them have passed.

3. Straight over turning

When arriving at an intersection head-to-head with another vehicle, it is important to use signals. When two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, and they are located head-to-head and one of the vehicles intends to turn and the other intends to go straight, the vehicle going straight has right of way. Keep in mind that if both vehicles are going straight or turning in the same direction, they can both proceed at the same time as they will not cross each other’s path.

4. Right over left

When two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, and they are located head-to-head and one of the vehicles intends to turn right and the other intends to turn left, the vehicle turning right has right of way. Move forward slowly before entering the intersection to indicate to other drivers you are making the turn. The driver turning left should wait until the other car has fully passed.

If all four cars arrive at the intersection at the same time, there is no good rule of thumb as to who should go first. However, it is recommended that you wait for the most aggressive driver to make the first move and then proceed with caution using the steps above. In general, it’s important to be patient and alert when approaching a four-way stop.

Please note if you are on a bike and turning left, stick out your left arm and point left. If you want to turn right, stick out your right arm, and point to the right. If you only have one hand free, and would like to turn right, stick your left arm straight in the air. If you want to signal a stop, drop your left arm straight down with the palm open. A quick Google search will take you to websites, like this one, with more detailed instructions on signaling while riding a bike in the road.

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