Lesson 5: The Basics of Intersection Safety - National Safety Council

Lesson 5: The Basics of Intersection Safety

Intersections are a standard part of the road, but they can be confusing for new drivers. From four-way stops to turning left across traffic, your teen will need your help to stay safe. Here are some basics to review and practice with your teen at intersections.

Right of Way

Right of way means that, at an intersection with stop signs on all sides, the driver who arrived first gets to cross first. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow this rule, so your teen should never assume that he or she has the right of way. Instead of stopping first and then crossing the intersection right away, teach your teen to scan the road before crossing. This way, your teen can wait for impatient drivers, instead of seizing the right of way and potentially getting into a crash.

Intersection with Lights

Things should be simpler at intersections with lights (go on green and stop on red) but there are still some hazards to talk about. Turning at an intersection with a light, for example, might mean waiting for a green arrow or waiting for oncoming traffic to clear on a normal green light. Either way, your teen should still plan to carefully scan the road and never assume he or she has the right of way without looking.

Practice: Ultimately, the key to safety at intersections is patience. Sure, it might not be fair for your teen to wait when he or she actually has the right of way, but it’s the easy choice when the alternative is a crash. At every intersection, encourage your teen to scan the road and explain his or her plan once the light changes or the other drivers cross. Patient drivers may not always get to their destination first, but they’ve got a better chance of making it there safe.

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