1. #1
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    4-way stop revisited

    Ok, I've asked this question here before but now I'm finding myself confused by supposedly authoritative sources who appear to disagree...

    Approach A) I used to think that a 4-way stop was a 'first-to-stop first-served' arrangement (and yield-to-the-right when two cars come to a stop at the same time)

    Approach B) After my prior post here I came to understand that the 4-way stop is not 'linked' like that - and that a car simply must stop, and then yield to vehicles that are already moving through the intersection. (Could be described as 'first-moving-again first served). If two cars ARE both stopped at their stop lines then the normal rules still apply between those stopped cars, such as left-turn yeilds to oncoming traffic etc.


    Imagine two cars arrive, one stops 1/2 second before the other, and the second car stops before the first one sets off again... So now the two cars are not moving, but both know that car #1 arrived first. The cars are facing each other at a 4-way stop. Car 1 wishes to make a left, car 2 wants to go straight.

    The main difference between approaches A and B is that in approach A car 1 would have ROW because he stopped before car 2. In approach B the ROW goes to car 2 becuase he's going straight.

    So which is it? Does ROW stay with the car the comes to a stop first? Or does the 4-way stop become irrelevant once multiple cars are stopped at the same time (rgeardless of who actually stopped first), meaning the regular rules of the road then apply instead? (ie left turner yeields to oncoming, cars on right have ROW etc)
    Last edited by JohnG; 08-02-2008 at 01:27 PM.

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    Maybe I'm being to hyper-logical about it.

    Basic question: The DMV handbook says; "If two vehicles stop at the same time..." Does that mean "If two vehicles come to a stop at the same time..." or "If two vehicles are stopped at the same time..."

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    I think its the former...your reading waaay to much into that question me thinks

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    Quote Originally Posted by lionheartednyhc View Post
    I think its the former...your reading waaay to much into that question me thinks
    I've heard both opinions from different places - even from here. Who would have the definitive answer?

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    You stop, other car stops, you go, he goes...It ain't rocket science.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiTownDet View Post
    You stop, other car stops, you go, he goes...It ain't rocket science.....
    Your opinion differs from others even on this site.

    It's not rocket science - that's because it's apparently not a science at all.

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    The way I always looked at it was:

    A) If you arrive at the same time as another vehicle or 2 vehicles the person on the farthest right has the ROW.

    B) If 4 vehicles arrive at the same time the alternating directions take turns. In other words, north and south go, then west and east. Those turning left yield to the car coming the opposite direction, just like with a green light.

    Of course all of our opinions differ, ask 1000 people what the right answer would be to this question and I'm sure you'll get different answers no matter what b/c people have different understandings. Bottom line, if you're just not sure, proceed cautiously...or just be nice and wave a person on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteTeach View Post
    A) If you arrive at the same time as another vehicle or 2 vehicles the person on the farthest right has the ROW.
    I have always had a problem with that saying. Why? Because if 2 cars arrive at a stop at the same time while facing each other, neither of them is to "the right" of the facing driver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CityCopDC View Post
    I have always had a problem with that saying. Why? Because if 2 cars arrive at a stop at the same time while facing each other, neither of them is to "the right" of the facing driver.
    Made even more confusing if one of them wants to turn left.

    If the left-turning car stopped 1/2 second before the straight car, but didn't set off again before the straight car stopped... Who has ROW?

    It all centers around the definition of "When two cars stop at the same time":

    - If you believe it means "are stopped at the same time" then the straight car has ROW because once both cars are stopped at the same time the stop signs become irrelevant and normal driving rules take over.

    - If you believe it means "come to a stop at the same time" then the left-turner has ROW because he came to a stop first.


    If Mr.Left and Mr.Straight collide (and both will invariably state that they stopped first) but no independant proof then who gets what ticket? What if you HAVE some irrefutable proof (or both drivers agree) that Mr.Left stopped first but Mr.Straight stopped then set off again before Mr.Left set off again?
    Last edited by JohnG; 08-03-2008 at 08:59 PM.

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    If Mr.Left and Mr.Straight collide (and both will invariably state that they stopped first) but no independant proof then who gets what ticket? What if you HAVE some irrefutable proof that Mr.Left stopped first but Mr.Straight stopped before Mr.Left set off again?
    Don't ticket anyone. Write the report and let the insurance companies figure it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CityCopDC View Post
    I have always had a problem with that saying. Why? Because if 2 cars arrive at a stop at the same time while facing each other, neither of them is to "the right" of the facing driver.
    Agreed, but if the two cars are both going straight, there is no issue. If one car is turning left and the other is going straight, straight gets ROW. If both cars are turning opposite directions (i.e. one east, one west), there is no issue. If both cars are turning in the same direction (i.e. both east) the vehicle that does not have to cross the oncoming lane would go first.

    Definately confusing. Best answer I saw was let the insurance company figure it out!
    The above comments reflect the personal, off-the-record, unofficial opinions of the individual posting them only, and in no way, shape, or form should be taken to indicate any particular opinion, policy, or belief by the poster's or any other agency, governmental entity, organization, or corporation. Thank you and have a nice day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteTeach View Post
    Agreed, but if the two cars are both going straight, there is no issue. If one car is turning left and the other is going straight, straight gets ROW. If both cars are turning opposite directions (i.e. one east, one west), there is no issue. If both cars are turning in the same direction (i.e. both east) the vehicle that does not have to cross the oncoming lane would go first.

    Definately confusing. Best answer I saw was let the insurance company figure it out!
    We're getting closer to an answer.

    The question still remains, though. If car A stops 1/2 second before car B but and both cars are now sitting there facing each other... Does this count as "two cars stop at the same time"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
    We're getting closer to an answer.

    The question still remains, though. If car A stops 1/2 second before car B but and both cars are now sitting there facing each other... Does this count as "two cars stop at the same time"?
    Are you really this obtuse? 1st car there goes 1st. Period.

    If your Mr. Left and Mr. Straight cannot avoid a collision at a 4-way stop after they both come to a complete stop, then neither of them deserves to be driving anyway.

    My posts are sometimes educated, sometimes informed, and sometimes blowing smoke...but they are mine and mine alone and do not reflect on anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemanjb View Post
    Are you really this obtuse? 1st car there goes 1st. Period.

    If your Mr. Left and Mr. Straight cannot avoid a collision at a 4-way stop after they both come to a complete stop, then neither of them deserves to be driving anyway.

    What a wonderful answer that contributed absolutely nothing at all to the question asked. I could see if JohnG's post was laced with sarcasm or being trollish but, it seems like a legitimate question. Here, take one of these....

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    Quote Originally Posted by CityCopDC View Post
    What a wonderful answer that contributed absolutely nothing at all to the question asked. I could see if JohnG's post was laced with sarcasm or being trollish but, it seems like a legitimate question. Here, take one of these....
    It answered the question, as did 3 other posts. First to stop goes first. It doesn't matter who starts sooner. If they arrive and stop at the same time, straight has ROW over the left turn. The fact that one started earlier and pre-empted the system doesn't make him correct. It is almost asinine to think that the left-turn driver would be so bent on his ROW that he would still accelerate through the intersection and cause a collision just to show that he had ROW.

    Your answer didn't address the question...if the cars are facing each other, then ROW isn't an issue if they are both going straight. Turning left always yields ROW, so that is simple too.

    Sheesh...you two are treating this like a huge ethical dilemma when it is nothing more than common sense with rules outlined in the driver's manual.
    Last edited by firemanjb; 08-04-2008 at 05:12 PM. Reason: clarification
    My posts are sometimes educated, sometimes informed, and sometimes blowing smoke...but they are mine and mine alone and do not reflect on anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemanjb View Post
    Are you really this obtuse? 1st car there goes 1st. Period.

    If your Mr. Left and Mr. Straight cannot avoid a collision at a 4-way stop after they both come to a complete stop, then neither of them deserves to be driving anyway.

    Not being obtuse - just trying to reconcile differing opinions. Your opinion is at odds with others posted at this site:

    http://forums.officer.com/showpost.p...7&postcount=14
    http://forums.officer.com/showpost.p...10&postcount=2

    These posts are about 2-way stops, but I can't find anything in the Ohio Revised Code that makes a 4-way stop different from a 2-way. In ORC a stopsign is a stopsign.

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    Ohio BMV just sent me this:

    >4511.41 Right-of-way rule at intersections.
    >(A) When two vehicles, including any trackless trolley or streetcar,
    >approach or enter an intersection from different streets or highways at
    >approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall
    >yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
    >
    >4511.42 Right-of-way rule when turning left.
    > (A) The operator of a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley intending to
    > turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or
    > driveway shall yield the right of way to any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless
    > trolley approaching from the opposite direction, whenever the approaching
    > vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley is within the intersection or so
    > close to the intersection, alley, private road, or driveway as to constitute
    > an immediate hazard.
    >
    >4511.43 Right-of-way rule at through highways, stop signs, yield signs.
    > (A) Except when directed to proceed by a law enforcement officer, every
    > driver of a vehicle or trackless trolley approaching a stop sign shall stop
    > at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on
    > the near side of the intersection, or, if none, then at the point nearest the
    > intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on
    > the intersecting roadway before entering it. After having stopped, the driver
    > shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or
    > approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate
    > hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection
    > or junction of roadways.
    No mention of cycling at 4-way stops. Following the logic (in bold, my emphasis) above it doesn't matter who STOPPED first, it matters who SET OFF AGAIN first.

    Can anyone point me to any law on the books that specifically states that 4-way stops are cycled (pref in Ohio but anywhere) first-come-first-served. Most people believe in first-come-first-served but Ohio law doesn't seem to recognize that concept. It just says you can't set off if someone else already set off.
    Last edited by JohnG; 08-04-2008 at 06:16 PM.

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    John,

    I'm just curious if you were looking for a generalized answer or one that would fit best for Ohio. The only reason that I ask is that different states will undoubtedly have different wording that could change the logic all together.

    Maybe that is why your finding the different answers from different officers, considering pretty much all the states get rep here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteTeach View Post
    John,

    I'm just curious if you were looking for a generalized answer or one that would fit best for Ohio. The only reason that I ask is that different states will undoubtedly have different wording that could change the logic all together.

    Maybe that is why your finding the different answers from different officers, considering pretty much all the states get rep here.
    That's what I was going to say. Traffic law is state-specific - what is legal in some states is not legal in all.
    For every one hundred men you send us,
    Ten should not even be here.
    Eighty are nothing but targets.
    Nine of them are real fighters;
    We are lucky to have them, they the battle make.
    Ah, but the one. One of them is a warrior.
    And he will bring the others back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteTeach View Post
    John,

    I'm just curious if you were looking for a generalized answer or one that would fit best for Ohio. The only reason that I ask is that different states will undoubtedly have different wording that could change the logic all together.

    Maybe that is why your finding the different answers from different officers, considering pretty much all the states get rep here.
    Ohio. I need to know what I need to to to stay legal.


    I know someone who got in an accident at a 4way stop where the other car is claiming that they had ROW because they were on the right and 'were stopped' at the same time even though my friend stopped first. Neither insurance will accept liability and my friend is working through an attorney to try to sue (liability only sucks!). But that wasn't even in ohio, so the outcome will not necessarily be relevant!
    Last edited by JohnG; 08-05-2008 at 07:27 PM.

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    Well, I think that the best answer for your friend is to consult that attorney if he/she chooses to do so. This way that individual should be able to correctly research and help interpret what the laws state. As far as you staying legal, I'll revert to my previous advice of...

    When in doubt just be a nice guy and wave someone through.
    The above comments reflect the personal, off-the-record, unofficial opinions of the individual posting them only, and in no way, shape, or form should be taken to indicate any particular opinion, policy, or belief by the poster's or any other agency, governmental entity, organization, or corporation. Thank you and have a nice day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteTeach View Post
    When in doubt just be a nice guy and wave someone through.
    Sounds like a winner. Better than fighting for it.

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