Four-way stops are very common at intersections that are small enough not the be light-controlled. They are fairly straight-forward, with drivers taking turns proceeding through the intersection based on when they arrived at that intersection and which way they’re turning.

However, they can lead to some serious mistakes. Say two drivers arrive at roughly the same second. They both think they were first and proceed into the intersection, assuming the other will wait. Or imagine that one driver doesn’t see the stop sign at all and just flies through the stop without pausing, when another driver, assuming that car will stop, pulls out in front of them.

These are just a few examples of errors that can lead to serious crashes. When you get to a four-way stop, if you want to stay safe:

  • Do not roll through the stop sign, but make sure you completely stop.
  • Do not trust that people are using their blinkers properly.
  • Be a defensive driver and assume others are going to make mistakes.
  • If you can, make eye contact with any other drivers to assure that they’ve seen you.
  • Never challenge a driver who makes a mistake. Just let them go, even if you had the right of way and it was your turn. It’s not worth getting into an accident and getting injured if you have time to avoid it.

These tips can help you, but crashes still do happen, and intersections are some of the most dangerous places on the road. If you get injured in a wreck someone else causes, make sure you know what legal options you have.