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08 / 05 / 24

Crossroads: How to go left, ahead, right & more info

Navigating crossroads in the UK can be a challenging aspect of driving, particularly for those new to the roads or to the UK driving rules. Crossroads can be marked or unmarked, and understanding who has priority and how to approach them safely is crucial. This guide will explain how to handle these intersections using the Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look (MSPSL) routine, which is a staple in the UK driving strategy.

Understanding Priority at Crossroads

The general rule of thumb at crossroads is that if the crossroads are unmarked, no one has explicit priority. Drivers must proceed with caution, using the approach we’ll detail below. However, at marked crossroads, road signs or markings will indicate priority.

  1. Marked Crossroads: Look for the presence of “Give Way” lines or traffic lights. If there are traffic lights, follow them. If the crossroads are controlled by “Give Way” signs or markings and you are on the minor road (behind the give way lines), you must give way to traffic on the Major road. Furthermore, if you are turning right and meet an oncoming car on the other side of the crossroads, you must give way to them as you are crossing Infront of them.
  2. Unmarked Crossroads: In the absence of signs or road markings, a good practice is to slow down and prepare to stop if necessary. Always assume that other drivers might not stop. Be prepared to give way to all directions and proceed only when it’s safe, you may need to make eye contact with other drivers to establish an understanding.

MSPSL Routine at Crossroads

The MSPSL routine is a systematic approach to junctions and crossroads that ensures you handle them safely and efficiently.

  • Mirror: Check your rear-view and side mirrors to understand the position and speed of the traffic around you.
  • Signal: Signal your intentions well in advance. This lets other road users know what you plan to do.
  • Position: Position your vehicle appropriately based on your intended action (turning left, going straight, or turning right).
  • Speed: Adjust your speed to suit the layout of the junction and the traffic conditions. Be prepared to stop if necessary.
  • Look: Look around for traffic, pedestrians, and other hazards. Make eye contact if possible with other road users to ensure they have seen you.

Specific Manoeuvres at Crossroads

  • Turning Left: Approach in the left-hand lane, signal left early, and after checking the mirrors, turn left when it is safe. Watch for pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning.
  • Going Ahead: If there are no road markings, on a single lane road you should approach near the centre of the road. Check all directions, look for fast moving vehicles such as motorcycles and proceed straight when it is safe. If there are road markings, stay in the lane marked for going straight, if provided.
  • Turning Right: Approach in the right-hand lane, or close to the centre line if you are on a single lane road, positioning your vehicle just to the left of the centreline of the road. Watch for oncoming traffic who have priority and complete the turn when you have a safe gap.

Meeting at Unmarked Crossroads

Meeting at an unmarked crossroads requires extra caution. Each driver should be prepared to stop and should not proceed until it is completely safe to do so. It’s essential to make eye contact with other drivers if possible and proceed only when you’re sure other drivers are giving way to you.

Conclusion

Navigating crossroads safely is all about anticipation and communication. By applying the MSPSL routine effectively whilst on your lessons at National Intensive, you can ensure that you approach crossroads with the confidence and caution needed to traverse them safely. Always remember that patience and a clear understanding of the rules can prevent accidents and ensure a smooth driving experience on UK roads.

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