Junctions

Overview:

To know and understand the various types of junction you may encounter whilst you are driving and be able to negotiate them safely

Aims:

To know and understand the importance of recognising different junctions, negotiating them safely and to use them without holding up other traffic

Objectives:

  • To understand various types of junctions
  • What to be aware of at junctions
  • How to safely use junctions
  • How to respond to junctions on dual carriageways
  • To understand your zone of vision at a junction

There are many types of road junction and they are found on all types of road. It is very important that you know how to use them safely. In the UK it is usual to always give way to the right at any junction or roundabout.

There are various types of junction that you must be able to negotiate safely. These include:

T-Junctions and Y-Junctions:
  • At one of these junctions you need to ensure you are correctly placed on the road to be able to safely see the road into which you are turning
  • If needed lean forward and then creep forward till you can see
Crossroads:
  • Always check who has priority at a crossroad and be aware of the other traffic moving around you
  • Look for the signs and road markings
Slip roads:
  • These roads are designed to allow you to match your speed to that of other traffic before joining a road
Unmarked junctions:
  • These are often found on side roads and country lanes
  • At an unmarked junction no one has priority so be very careful
Box junctions:
  • These are marked by criss crossed yellow lines on the road
  • You must not enter the box section until your exit lane is clear
  • However you may enter the box and wait if you are turning right and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic
Junctions controlled by traffic lights:
  • You must stop behind the white ‘Stop’ line across your side of the road, unless the traffic light is on green
  • You may only cross on an amber light if you have already crossed the stop line or are so close to the stop line you are unable to stop safely. Check your mirror to know if it’s safe
  • You must never cross on a red light
  • Advanced stop lines are to allow cyclists to get to the front. You should stop at the first line and must stop at the second

Awareness at junctions

Always be aware of and watch out for:

  • Cyclists, motorcyclists, mobility scooters and pedestrians crossing and using the junction.
  • Pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning. If a pedestrian has started to cross they have priority and you must give way
  • Long vehicles which are turning into a junction may have to use the whole width of the road to make the turn
  • Never assume when waiting at a junction that a vehicle coming from the right and signalling left will actually turn. Always wait and make sure
  • Always look all around before emerging. Do not cross or attempt to join a road until there is a big enough gap to do this safely
  • Look and look again

Safely using a junction:

When approaching a normal junction:

  • Always look for signs and road markings when approaching a junction

If there are two lanes in the direction you are travelling:

  • To turn left: stay in the left hand lane
  • To turn right: move to the right hand lane (in good time)
  • To continue straight ahead: stay in the left hand line unless otherwise indicated

If there are three lanes in the direction you are travelling:

  • To turn left: stay in the left hand lane
  • To turn right: use the right hand lane
  • To continue straight ahead: use the left hand lane or the middle lane, or be guided by road markings

When approaching crossroads:

The procedure to follow at a cross road is the same as at any other junction. Always look ahead and check for road signs and markings that may indicate priority. Remember cars will be cutting right across.

Driving on the major road at a crossroad:

  • Watch for road signs and markings
  • Watch for emerging traffic, especially traffic that is trying to cut across as they may misjudge your speed
  • Adjust your speed as appropriate when approaching the crossroad

Turning left or right at a crossroad:

  • Treat as a normal T junction
  • Be extra careful due to the extra road

Turning right at a crossroads with the car opposite also turning right:

You will have a choice of going driver to driver side or passenger to passenger side. This will be decided by either the:

  • Road layout
  • Other driver
  • Road markings

When going driver to driver side:

  • Make sure you leave space for the other cars
  • Its advantage is you can see what’s coming
  • Its disadvantage is only two at a time

When going passenger to passenger side:

  • Be extra careful due to reduced visibility
  • Watch out for bikes coming through on the inside
  • It’s advantage is, there is a better flow of traffic

Junctions on dual carriageways

Always remember you may encounter slow moving traffic on a dual carriageway such as cyclists or tractors and always look out for them at junctions.

Turning left from a side road onto a dual carriageway:

If there is no slip road:

  •  emerge as you would if turning left onto a major road.

If there is a slip road:

  • Use the slip road to adjust your speed to that of other traffic
  • Look for a gap in the traffic and move into the left hand lane
  • Always check for other traffic before emerging
  • Use your Mirror, Signal and Maneuver routine

Turning right from a side road onto a dual carriageway:

Always assess the gap in the central reservation to ensure the entire length of your car will fit. If it is then:

  • Cross the first carriageway when it is safe to do so, then wait within the gap in the central reservation until it is safe to join the traffic on the second carriageway
  • Do not emerge unless you are sure you will not cause other traffic to alter speed or change lanes

If the gap in the central reservation is not large enough to wait in then you must not begin to cross until the dual carriageway is clear in both directions.

Leaving a dual carriageway turning left:

If there is no slip road, use the same procedure as you would when turning left into a side road.

Always:

  • Use your Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine
  • Get into the left hand lane in plenty of time
  • Signal left early, due to the higher speeds of traffic
  • Reduce your speed in good time

Leaving a dual carriageway turning right:

The central reservation sometimes has gaps for turning right. These may have a special approach lane to make this safer.

Always:

  • Use your Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine
  • Signal right and move into the right hand lane in plenty of time
  • Observe any lane markings
  • Reduce your speed in good time
  • Take particular care when turning as you may be crossing the path of two lanes of fast moving oncoming traffic, if in doubt always wait

Zone of vision at a junction

Your zone of vision is what you can see as you look forward and to the side of your vehicle. At a junction you may need to be very close before you can see if it is safe to proceed. If there is an obstruction such as a parked car, it may be necessary to stop and then move slowly forwards to assess the safety.

Always :

  • Look in every direction before emerging at a junction
  • Keep looking as you join the other road
  • Be ready to stop if necessary
  • Use all the visual information available to you, through parked car windows or in reflections
  • Be aware of your own cars windscreen pillars obstructing your view at junctions, especially your view of pedestrians or cyclists
  • To deal with the last one move your head if needed

Recap

It is important to know how to use a variety of junctions safely and correctly. Always be aware of other road users at any junction and follow the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine before taking any action.

Always be aware of other road users at junctions and remember if pedestrians have already begun to cross then they have priority.

You should be able to:

  • Know what the different junctions are and how to deal with them
  • Know how to safely deal with the different junctions and what to watch out for
  • Safely use junctions including crossroads
  • Deal with dual carriageways turning on and off
  • Be aware of how to look at junctions

Further Reading:

The Highway Code Rule(s): 170-183

Driving The Essential Skills: Section(s) 8

On your driving test:

On test: Junctions

Assessment criteria: Junctions

Driving Examiner Guidance: Junctions

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