Highway Intersection Etiquette
There are many “rules” to the road, and intersections are one of those places that are misused by drivers, simply because they don’t know, or don’t remember, those rules. There are several different types of intersections and interchanges, and while the interchanges are usually clear in direction, many of the “crossover” intersections, or the new types of intersections (roundabouts, diverging diamonds, and j-turns) are still new to drivers. The information below can help drivers, new and experienced, understand the rules (and laws) about intersections and interchanges.
Types of Interchanges & Intersections:
J-Turns | Diverging Diamond Interchanges | Roundabouts | Single-Point Interchanges
Motorists driving straight on the highway prevail over a yield sign, and a yield sign prevails over a stop sign. So who has the right of way when pulling out at an intersection? First straight, next yield, then stop. Always look both ways before crossing, even in a vehicle. Don’t treat an intersection like a two-way stop, even though the driver in the intersection may be motioning you to come forward. If you use this rule of thumb, you’ll know the answer the next time you’re sitting at one of many intersections along our four-lane highways throughout Missouri. We have posted a diagram below to help drivers learn the rules of an intersection. Please feel free to send this link to friends and family!
Be a safe driver and pay attention. Remove distractions…put down the cell phone, stop eating, and give your full attention to the task at hand – driving! Take your time and make safe decisions. Set a good example for our younger drivers. Our law enforcement partners ask each of us to drive as if you’re being tested for your license: obey all laws and traffic signs, pay attention, wear your seat belt, use your blinkers, and please use common sense.
MoDOT and local law enforcement are partners in the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. Locally known as the Northeast Regional Coalition for Roadway Safety, professionals are available to educate drivers – young, old and in between – about safe driving habits. Sometimes we all just need reminders. Call us if you would be interested in having a safe driving program presented to your organization, business or class. The number is 1-888-275-6636 or email email@example.com. You can check out all the safe driving programs and campaigns at www.savemolives.com.
Use Acceleration or Deceleration Lanes
If you're turning south out of South Lincoln Drive or Route U onto US 61 near Troy and Moscow Mills, you've probably noticed there are actually three lanes in those areas. "The lane on the outside is an acceleration lane, and allows cars pulling out to speed up and merge safely into high-speed traffic," explained Mark Giessinger, MoDOT maintenance and traffic engineer.
Giessinger said that not all drivers are familiar with the acceleration lanes, mistaking them for shoulders. "For the most part, local drivers who regularly use intersections with turn lanes use the acceleration lanes," he said.
Acceleration lanes are especially beneficial for large commercial vehicles that are slower to accelerate. Necessity and expense are the driving factors to determine whether an intersection needs an acceleration lane. "We've built acceleration lanes for areas along US 61 that have higher traffic volumes, but in some sections, especially north of Troy where traffic volume is lower, we have widened the shoulders for people entering and exiting the highway," Giessinger said.