Intersections are busy and often stressful places for drivers. It makes sense. There's a lot to think about: other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, oncoming traffic, traffic lights and stop signs to name a few. However, by knowing when to stop and who to watch for, you'll come a lot closer to navigating intersections safely.
When to stop
- At stop signs and red lights, come to a full stop.
- When approaching an amber light, slow down and prepare to stop. If you try to speed up at amber lights, you risk getting stuck in the middle of the intersection once the light turns red and oncoming traffic starts moving. This can block emergency vehicles. If you speed through an amber light, you risk colliding with vehicles turning left. Instead, proceed with caution and yield the right of way to vehicles in the intersection and all vehicles close enough to the intersection that they could be hazards if caught there on a red light.
Who to watch for
- Pedestrians and cyclists: check your immediate path of travel for pedestrians and cyclists as well as those places they could come out of.
- Oncoming traffic: note the speed of oncoming traffic to assess whether you can make a safe turn. Don't assume a driver will stop on an amber light; watch them stop before you start your turn.
At intersections, it's essential to think before you move. By knowing when to stop and who to watch for, you'll come a long way. Fines for failing to stop at stop signs, red lights and amber lights (when possible) are $180 for a first offense, $237.50 for a second and $352.50 for a third.
Nova Scotia RCMP will step up enforcement at intersections during the month of October in an effort to increase road safety.