Entering a country road

Contents

Before entering

When approaching a junction where you have a duty to give way, you must reduce your speed well in advance of the intersecting road. By reducing speed early you have more time to decide whether it is safe to proceed, if you should slow down further or even stop completely, and if you should give way before entering the junction.


When you have a duty to give way you must clearly communicate your intentions to do so by slowing down well in advance, and if necessary, stopping completely

When approaching a junction it is also important to position the car correctly. Doing so you makes completing the turn easier, maximises visibility and shows other road users the direction you intend to turn.

Before turning right you should position the car close to the right-hand side of the road. Stay close to the right-hand side of the road after completing the turn.

Before turning left you should position the car as close to the left edge of your lane as possible. This maximizes your visibility and makes it easier for other drivers to see your car and to pass you on your right side. Complete the turn on the right-hand side of the road.

Sometimes you enter major roads via an acceleration lane like those on motorways. When this is the case the same rules apply as when joining a motorway.

Risks

Before entering a junction you must always check traffic coming from both the left and the right. Unfortunately, many drivers are careless and only check traffic coming from the left before turning right.


Always check traffic from both directions before entering a junction

If you turn right at a junction without first checking traffic coming from the right, you risk being hit by an overtaking vehicle temporarily driving on the wrong side of the road.

Concealed vehicles

Before entering a junction you must always wait until you have a clear view. You must not procced if your view is obscured by a vehicle that is turning, or is about to turn, into the road where you are waiting. You must always assume that other vehicles may be concealed behind the turning vehicle and that those vehicles may be continuing straight ahead.

Note that large vehicles such as vans, trucks and buses that are driving straight ahead on an intersecting road might be concealing smaller and faster vehicles. A motorcycle might for example be driving just behind a large truck. If the motorcycle driver decides to overtake the truck just as you decide to enter the junction ahead of the slow-moving truck, the risk of an accident is very high.


Always assume that a large vehicle might be concealing a smaller vehicle

The human factor

When entering a junction you must take the human factor into account: a driver approaching from the left who is signalling to the right might only have forgotten to turn off their indicators and is in fact not about to turn at all.

If you find that a driver who is signalling to turn is driving at a high speed then you must wait to act until you are completely sure of the driver's intentions.


Never enter a junction before you are certain you can do so without endangering or obstructing other road users

Duty to give way

When you have a duty to give way you must always give way to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. You must communicate your intentions to give way clearly by slowing down well in advance, and if necessary, stopping completely.

If the road you are entering is a priority road you must always give way to all traffic on the priority road. If the road sign Give way is posted before a junction you must also give way to all traffic on the intersecting road.

Read more about the duty to give way

Duty to stop

If the road sign Stop is posted before a junction, you must stop completely and give way before proceeding. This applies regardless of whether there is any traffic on the intersecting road or not. The rules are designed in this way to ensure that drivers who have a duty to stop really do so and check traffic both ways before proceeding.

When you have a duty to stop, you should stop at the stop line. If there is no stop line, you should stop just before, but not on, the intersecting road where you can be clearly seen and have a clear view. You may only proceed when you can do so without endangering or obstructing other road users.


Entering a stop junction without stopping first can have devastating consequences

If you do not stop and give way when you have a duty to do so you risk a fine, and getting your driver's licence revoked.

Note that both police officers' signals and traffic signals apply before road signs. If you approach a junction and a police officer signals for you to keep driving, or if a traffic light posted next to the junction is green, you should keep driving, even if there is a Stop sign, or other priority sign, posted next to the junction.


At the junction in the picture you must stop completely at the stop line, regardless of whether there is any traffic on the intersecting road or not

The priority to the right rule

When two roads (where no road is a priority road) cross each other and nothing else regulates the duty to give way at the junction, the priority to the right rule applies. Priority to the right is a right-of-way system, in which the driver of a vehicle is required to give way to vehicles approaching from the right at junctions.

The priority to the right rule also applies when two vehicles' paths cross each other in open areas, such as parking spaces and petrol stations.

The priority to the right rule also applies at junctions with private roads, if no road sign indicates otherwise.


In the situation in the picture the driver in the yellow car has priority according to the priority to the right rule

A common misconception is that a vehicle driving on a "larger" road does not have to give way to vehicles driving on a "smaller" road. This is not the case, if nothing else regulates the duty to give way at the junction, priority to the right applies – regardless of the size of the roads.

Junction

This road sign is sometimes posted next to junctions where priority to the right rule applies.

Priority to the right does not apply:

See examples of the priority to the right rule

After entering

After entering an intersecting road you should keep to the right and accelerate firmly to quickly reach an appropriate speed. At the same time, check your mirrors to see if any traffic is approaching from the rear.

In darkness or when visibility is reduced you should not position the car too close to the roadside or on the hard shoulder, as there may be obstacles or unprotected road users there, which are then difficult to detect.