Let's say you're at a stop sign on Road A and want to make a left turn onto road B. About 50 to 100 feet to your right is another road on the opposite side of the road, road C, that also meets road B with a stop sign.

Let's say we pull up to the stop sign and there is traffic, and we cannot make a left. After one minute of sitting at the stop sign, a car pulls up to the stop sign on Road C and plans to make a right.

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15 seconds later, there is an opening in traffic, and we plan to make our left, but because the last car had come from our right, the traffic cleared for the driver at road C first.

Should the driver at road C wait for us to make a left, or should we wait for them.

Who has right of way?

  • I'm sorry. I can't follow your explanation well enough to understand the situation.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 26 at 22:09
  • If the other vehicle makes its right turn from C before you make your left turn from A (which as you say, it probably will, since its traffic gap appeared sooner than yours) then a vehicle already on highway B (the other vehicle) has right of way. Commented Mar 27 at 0:59
  • Thanks for the illustration. It is much easier to understand now.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 27 at 2:47
  • @WeatherVane thanks for the illustration. It captures the scenario in my question perfectly. Commented Mar 27 at 13:43
  • 1
    You didn't mention the distance between A and C. The further you stretch this distance the more obvious the answer becomes. Commented Mar 27 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


The car on Road C has right of way. They are not obligated to look for you, you are obligated at B to only proceed if it is clear, and if the car at C goes it is no longer clear.

Who arrives first doesn't matter, this is not a 4 way stop.

  • Do you know if this scenario comes up in the drivers handbook? Thank you for your reply Commented Mar 27 at 13:46
  • @jamesmortensen some road rules in the US are state-based, so we need to know which state.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Mar 27 at 18:10
  • 1
    @jamesmortensen, The rules are based on who is in the road and who has the right of way. What you will not find are rules looking for cars turning down the road in front of you after you turn (what to do if you are C).
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Mar 27 at 20:07
  • @mkennedy we reside in Tennessee. Commented Apr 2 at 0:10
  • @TigerGuy When you say "4 way stop", do you think this also applies to scenarios where the road going east-west has no stop signs, but the north-south roads have stop signs and are at a cross (+) intersection? When you say "4 way stop" it is making me think of the scenario where all 4 points have a stop sign instead of where there are just 2 stop signs. In the case where the roads are connected, I think we would then have right of way since we were there first. What do you think? Commented Apr 2 at 0:13

In the scenario you described, where Road A intersects with Road B and Road C intersects with Road B but not each other, the driver on Road C would typically have the right of way to make a right turn onto Road B.

However, if you're already waiting at the stop sign on Road A to make a left turn onto Road B before the car from Road C arrives, you should proceed with your left turn if there's a safe gap in traffic, regardless of the arrival of the car from Road C.

In this situation, each driver should yield to oncoming traffic on Road B before making their respective turns. So, if there's an opening in traffic allowing you to safely make your left turn onto Road B, you should take it, and the driver on Road C should wait for you to complete your turn before making their right turn onto Road B.

  • The scenario is that the safe gap appears for the driver on road C first because the eastbound lane is clear and we are both waiting for the westbound lane to clear. Commented Mar 27 at 13:45

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