The intersection of four streets is one of the most confusing places on earth. The rules can be difficult to remember, and understanding them is not easy. But with a few tips, you can go from feeling lost to mastering four-way intersections in no time!
You may enter an intersection from any street you want, but when it comes time to leave, only exit in the direction that matches your entrance (i.e., if you entered eastbound, leave eastbound). In many states this rule also applies for left turns at two way intersections as well.
If two cars are turning around the same corner and they need to cross each others' paths then the car that is on the inside of the turn should go first. The car on the outside of the turn must wait until it is clear to proceed.
This rule also applies to two cars going straight through an intersection from perpendicular streets. The car that is closest to the intersecting street should go first, and the other car should wait until it is clear to proceed.
In most states, pedestrians always have the right of way at intersections (and crosswalks). This means that if there is a pedestrian in or near a crosswalk, you must stop and let them finish crossing before you proceed.
If there are no marked crosswalks, pedestrians still have the right of way, but drivers should use common sense and yield to pedestrians who are obviously trying to cross the street. For example, if there is a pedestrian waiting to cross at a busy intersection and there is no stoplight or stop sign, the driver should slow down and let the pedestrian cross.
Generally speaking, the car that arrives at the intersection first has the right of way. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
If two cars reach the intersection at the same time, the car on the right has the right of way.
If you are making a left turn, you must yield to oncoming traffic (unless there is a green arrow indicating that it is safe to turn).
If you are entering an intersection from a side street or driveway, you must yield to any cars that are already in the intersection.
Remember, even if you have the right of way, use common sense and courtesy when proceeding through an intersection. For example, if another driver is trying to make a difficult turn, it is always nice to let them go first!
There's a quick saying to remember what to do at a four way intersection.
"First to arrive is the first to drive". If you can remember this, you are halfway there already.
Always be sure to proceed with caution. 4 ways are extremely confusing, and there's even car accident lawyers that dedicate their practice to these types of accidents. It's better to be safe than it is be sorry.