What To Do at Crozet’s Four-Way Stop Sign

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Four-way stop in downtown Crozet at the corner of Crozet Avenue, Three Notch'd Road, and Railroad Avenue. Photo: Clover Carroll.

I expect we’ve all been caught in the long traffic tie-ups during “Crozet rush hour” at the four-way stop sign where Three-Notch’d Road meets Crozet Ave. Part of the problem is drivers’ confusion about whose turn it is to proceed and resulting hesitation, causing them to wait longer than necessary before turning or crossing the intersection. Sometimes the intersection remains empty for precious minutes while drivers try to figure out who can safely go next!

One simple rule covers how to handle a four-way stop sign, which is all you need to remember:

Vehicles should enter the intersection in the order in which they arrived. 

This means that the vehicle that arrives first should proceed through the intersection first, and others should continue to take turns in the order of their arrival. All that is required is for you to pay attention, as you arrive at the intersection, to which cars were there before you at the other three entry points.

If you are the first (or only) car to arrive at the intersection, you may simply treat it as a regular stop sign, and proceed through the intersection immediately after stopping. If, on the other hand, other cars are already stopped when you arrive at the intersection, you must let all of these turn or cross before taking your turn. But what if more than one car arrives at the same time? The Virginia Driver’s Manual (www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/dmv39c.pdf) has you covered:

If you get to the intersection at the same time as other vehicles, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. 

So if a car arrives on your right at the same time you do, give him the right of way. But if a car arrives on your left at the same time you do, he must allow you to go first. And please don’t forget to use your blinker to signal your turning plans to other drivers! Thank you for keeping these simple rules in mind as you travel through beautiful downtown Crozet. 

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