# Who has the right of way in this situation?

``````

|  |  |
|     |
|  |  |
--------        ----------
b  a          c
--------        ----------
|  |  |
|     |
|  |  |

``````

In this situation, a b and c are all wanting to enter onto a divided highway going south. They all have stop signs. The cross traffic on the highway does not stop. Suppose that all vehicles get to their respective locations at the same time. Vehicle A obviously has the first right of way and can immediately turn right (after stopping of course). Who has the right of way next? In my location, we take turns and vehicle C would probably go next but I’m not sure that that’s not just a courteous convention. If it were a 4 way stop, vehicle C would definitely be second, but since it’s not a 4 way stop, do the same rules apply?

I’m sure that rules might vary from location to location so feel free to use your own location as your guide.

Imo c

There’s not enough info for me.

Which way does C want to go?

Which way does B want to go?

So far as I know, all jurisdictions apply the rule that whomever is first at an intersection, whether or not it is controlled by a stop sign, has right of way. That means “c” is always second, since he necessarily arrives at the intersection before “b”.

It seems to me the mistake you are making in analyzing the situation is thinking that “b” arrives at the intersection at the same time as “a.” But he does not. He arrives slightly behind the intersection, i.e. just behind “a,” when “a” stops. He cannot arrive at the intersection itself until “a” has turned and he inches forward. That necessarily means he arrives at the intersection itself well after “c.”

From the OP, they all want to go south.

As robby says, they all want to go south. But your question kind of leads to my question. Does it matter which way they want to go or do they just take turns?

It matters which way they want to go, since they all want to occupy the same space.

ISTM that A has the first right-of-way, since C would have to turn across him if A were to go straight. C would have the next go. B hasn’t reached the intersection yet, and won’t until A clears; so B does not have RoW over anyone.

Since A and C arrived simultaneously, they can take off simultaneously. Since C is turning left, he must yield to A if A is going straight or turning right, though practically speaking A will likely have completed his turn before C is at a point where yielding is necessary. If both A and C were turning left, they could do it simultaneously, crossing in front of or behind each other (depending on the width of the median in the highway). B is clearly last in line here.

ETA: To elaborate a bit, each vehicle’s turn in taking off is determined by when they arrived at the stop line. Subsequent to that, a vehicle turning left must yield to oncoming traffic, but that doesn’t mean the left-turner must delay his take-off.

Again, OP says that all cars want to go south.

Yes, I addressed that, and added how it would proceed if A were going east or north for comparison and completeness. Sorry if it lacked clarity.

The real life situation that brings this up is only slightly different than the one in the OP. I am usually vehicle C. The divided highway is very busy and there will often be a long time between opportunities to go. Vehicle A might have been gone for a minute or more. When the next break in traffic occurs, I’m usually thinking “I hope that vehicle B remembers that I’m next.” Many times, they don’t.

I’ve been vehicle a many times wanting to make a left.

after sitting there 2 minutes waiting for my chance to turn, vehicle c shows up across from me.

there’s a break in traffic

c steals my chance to turn by driving straight across

I have cursed car c so many times. it’s infuriating. I have an intersection two blocks from my house like this.

In this case, real life dictates that vehicle B will be able to go before vehicle C will. Vehicle B only has to wait until there is a gap in the southbound traffic. Vehicle C must wait not only until there is a break in both north- and southbound traffic, but until those breaks coincide.

Where I live the car turning left has the right of way, even if they got there last.

Do you drive on the left or the right?

Left. Australia. So presumably that rule would be reversed if it applied in the US.

ETA: years ago I believe it was the car turning right that had the right of way, but that was only in one state and they changed it for consistency.

I think C goes when he can, and gains the right of way when he enters the intersection. So B should be aware of C and allow him to turn in, if C is able to do so.