Crossroads are a type of road junction. Many roundabouts are converted crossroads, designed specifically to help keep traffic moving. There are different kinds of crossroads: some may or may not have road markings, and others may be controlled by traffic lights. Before going onto Crossroads, you should normally have turned left and right several times from major to minor roads and minor to major roads.

Layouts of crossroads vary, so pay careful attention to road markings and traffic signs. As you approach, remember: mirrors, signal and get in position. Reduce your speed even if you are travelling ahead, and keep looking. Observation is the key to safety at crossroads, be prepared for the unexpected (vehicles don’t always give way or stop as we would probably expect.

Take extra care when turning right if an approaching vehicle is also turning right. You can either turn near-side to near-side, passing passenger doors, or off-side to off-side, passing driver’s side doors. The choice depends on the size and the shape of the junctions, the road markings and the position of the vehicles. Make eye-contact with the approaching driver, this helps to determine who might go first.

The need to use a safe system of approach – MSM

Mirrors - The importance of checking for traffic following closely by using the interior mirror. Using the outside mirrors when and where necessary on approach.

Signal - The importance of signalling in good time and for the benefit of traffic and pedestrians that can or cannot yet be seen.

Position - The importance of being in the correct road position for turning left, proceeding ahead or turning right depending on the type and size of the crossroads and the movement of approaching traffic.

Speed and Gear – The importance of correct amount of gentle braking to bring the speed down in enough time to select and engage the gear. Also make sure that the clutch pedal is not pressed down too early on the approach.

Look – The importance of zones of vision. Watch for

 pedestrians who are crossing

 traffic from any direction including emergency vehicles or stolen vehicles.

 overtaking vehicles viewed in either of the exterior mirrors.

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Mirrors Signal Manoeuvre (M-S-M)

Mirrors

well before

Signalling

Position

correct line

on approach

when turning or emerging

Correct regulation of speed

Not approaching too

fast/slow

Correct use of brakes/gears

Not coasting on approach

or when turning

Look

for traffic approaching from the opposite direction

for pedestrians who are crossing

to make sure that you do not endanger emerging traffic by cutting right hand corner

to ensure that you have due regard for traffic on the main road

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Turning Left (Major road to Minor road) -

To turn left at the crossroads start the hazard routine and continue in the same way as you would when approaching any junction but take a glance at the road to your right, just in case another vehicle emerges unexpectedly.

Turning Right (Major road to Minor road) -

To turn right at the crossroads, start the hazard routine and continue in the same way as you would when approaching any junction but take a glance at the road to your left, just in case another vehicle emerges unexpectedly.

Following the road ahead on the major road –

While following the road ahead on the major road, start the hazard routine and continue in the same way as you would when approaching any junction but take a glance into both side roads, just in case another vehicle emerges unexpectedly.

When two vehicles want to turn right –

Unlike other junctions you may have come across an oncoming vehicle wanting to turn right at the same as yourself at the crossroads. When this happens there are three options open to you; Nearside to nearside: Usually vehicles turn nearside to nearside this is when your vehicle passes another vehicle at the passenger side alongside of the oncoming vehicle. While this is the most commonly used method, this may not be the safest method as the other vehicle can block your view of the road ahead, making it difficult to judge whether or not it is safe to go.

Offside to Offside: This is when your vehicle passes another vehicle at the driver side alongside that of the oncoming vehicle. This is the safest method for both cars to turn right at a crossroads as it gives both drivers the best view of oncoming vehicles enabling them to decide if it is safe to turn or not.

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Sometimes the oncoming vehicle will wait for you to turn right before it turns right, this isn’t ideal as the waiting vehicle will block your view of the oncoming traffic.

Look out for road markings at the crossroads that dictate the method to be followed.

The general rule at priorities at crossroads is that right turning traffic gives way to oncoming vehicles; this is just the same as the two minor roads were one major road. Never assume the priority as some drivers don’t comply. They may want to proceed first so try to get eye contact with the driver opposite to establish what they are intending to do.

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Frequently asked questions-

1. Some of the faults to avoid while approaching crossroads are as below;

 Not recognising the crossroads in time

 Not making effective use of the mirrors well before signalling or changing direction

 Incorrect positioning on approach

 Positioning too late

 Approaching too fast/slow

 Not braking sufficiently before gear changing

 Coasting

 Not giving way to pedestrians who are crossing

 Not properly observing ‘Give Way’ or ‘Stop’ lines

 Not anticipating traffic from the right waiting for traffic from ahead

 Undue hesitancy

 Checking mirrors and signalling/changing direction simultaneously

2. How do you spot crossroads?

While driving when you look ahead and when you see a junction to either the right or left, take a look across from it, is there another road opposite. You may also see a road sign like the below which is a warning of crossroads ahead.

Fig: Crossroads warning sign

Food for thought – (You should give a think to the below and discuss this with your instructor)

What type of crossroads have you come across?

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Appendix

Contents of this lesson are taken from:

DVLA – The Official Highway Code

https://www.gov.uk/highway-code

Adi News Magazine

LDC Driving School’s YouTube videos

Lesson no: 
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