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Right of Way – Do you know the rules of the road in Alberta?

Right-of-Way

Where roadways meet and intersect,there is the possibility for a collision. Who should proceed and who must wait?  You might be surprised.  

I Got there first !

As a driver for 24 years of my life I though I knew it all.  Turns out, I am not as smart as I thought. Anyhow, my first “aha” moment came when a news article came out  advising people to be careful to not allow people to just”wave” you through an intersection.  The commonly known principal of “I got there first” doesn’t always apply.  I was surprised to find out that I did not know the right-of way rules in Alberta.  I had it wrong when it comes to 2 way stops and uncontrolled intersections.  Read on to see how I learned my lesson.

2 way stop signs and uncontrolled Intersections

I thought, after 24 years of driving, how is it possible that I do not know this? I have decided that I have relied on the bad habits of others and ” the common : I got there first = right-of-way.   This is correct in every other scenario except for 2 way stops and uncontrolled intersections.   Scene: I am waiting to cross a major road and another driver arrives at the intersection the same time as me, we play a game of chicken.  Who should go ? The person on the right that’s who.  Yep it doesn’t matter who got there first, if you are on the right you have the right of way. This is where I learned my lesson.  I had a person waive me to go first, so I did, and they then proceeded to go at the same time seemingly trying to cause a collision.  This is a form of insurance fraud where a person tries to claim injury or get a free repair to their car, by intentionally causing a collision.  

3 and 4 way stops

This one is easy. Come to a complete stop and allow the vehicle that arrived at the intersection first to go ahead.  If you  arrive at the same time, the person on the right has  the right of way.   As always only go when it is safe to do so. 

Intersection reminders

  • Drivers turning left across the path of traffic have the least priority for right of way. Only proceed when safe. 

  • Parking lots have intersections that are considered uncontrolled and the right of way rules apply.  However, use extreme caution in a parking lot. Collisions regardless of the rules, are often considered 50/50 at fault for insurance claims no matter what happened. 

  • Do not pass any vehicle that has stopped for a pedestrian.

  • Keep intersections clear, do not stop in the middle of the intersection. 

What I learned about right of way...

I learned what the rules are.  I learned that the ” I got here first rules” are only valid for 3 and 4 stop sign intersections. I also learned that no matter what the rules are that you should only proceed when safe to do so.  If you are not comfortable with a friendly wave to go ahead, kindly look away and let the other driver through.  For more information visit the government of Alberta transportation page 

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