I was recently driving with my mother when we came upon a four-way stop. The person to our left went through, then we were about to. But the person to our right went through because he was there first. Mother then does a mild, 5-second scold to following four-way traffic laws. She does this at every four-way that doesn’t perform in a counter-clockwise merry-go-round manner.
When I went through drivers ed, I was never taught and four-way traffic laws. It was a first come, first serve basis. But during her little scold, I actually got to thinking: what is the law behind a four-way stop? And I decided to look into three states: California, where Mother learned to drive, Virginia, where I learned to drive, and Idaho, where we both live now.
Well, guess what. They all have the same right-of-way laws…and Mother was wrong.
At a four-way intersection, right-of-way is given to the person who showed up first. And if two cars are there at the same time, right-of-way yields to the person to the right, not left as Mother mini-scolds every time she goes through a four-way intersection.
This post is meant to educate, to embarrass. When Mother learned to drive, laws were a bit different. Things change, and in this case, we just accept it.