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Stop signs: know who has the right-of-way

By J. Dwayne Gunther | 437th Security Force Squadron air provost | Dec. 8, 2009

CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — In driving around Charleston AFB individuals will notice a large number of intersections are controlled by stop signs.

If the rules for stop signs are adhered to properly, they are a very effective and efficient means to control traffic at intersections. In order to remind all Charleston AFB drivers on the proper procedures to follow at an intersection controlled by stop signs, the following directions have been provided.
When approaching a stop sign vehicles must come to a stop prior to the marked line or crosswalk. If neither exists, stop at a point nearest the intersection where the driver has a view of approaching traffic without entering the intersection.

Stopping means a complete stop of movement. Simply slowing down, or rolling through, does not constitute a complete stop. Knowing to come to a complete stop is the easy part, but knowing what to do next can sometimes be confusing. That is, knowing who has the right-of-way at an intersection controlled by stop signs.

Once a driver has stopped, they will yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection. When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different directions at approximately the same time, a driver must always yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on their right. When a driver enters an intersection to make a left-hand turn, they shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is within or approaching the intersection. These rules apply whether it's a two-way or four-way stop.

According to Air Force regulation, failure to obey traffic signals or traffic instructions of an enforcement officer or traffic warden; or any official regulatory traffic sign or device requiring a full stop or yield of right-of-way could result in an assessment of four-points to the driver's record.

Safety is a shared responsibility and failure to comply with these rules can result in loss of driving privileges.