It’s important to know all of the rules of a four-way stop, such as the fact that cars arriving at the same time need to allow drivers who are going straight to pass through the intersection before drivers who are turning. It’s also important to note that right turns take precedence over left turns and that you’re supposed to yield to the right if the cars are on perpendicular roads.
All that said, there is one base rules that people sometimes overlook: If one car gets to the four-way stop before the other, the driver who got there first gets to proceed through the intersection first.
It doesn’t matter where that driver is located or what direction the car is traveling. They do not have to think through all of the more complex rules of using the intersection. If they were clearly and obviously the first one at the stop sign, they get to drive first.
In many cases, this means that they start driving before the next car to arrive has even stopped initially. That’s why they take precedence. The other driver needs to pull up to the sign, stop and then proceed, and the first driver can turn or go straight while they’re doing so.
The risk, experts note, is that aggressive drivers may try to turn first, even when it’s not their turn, or distracted drivers may not realize they were not the first ones to the intersection. These mistakes can cause serious car accidents.
If you get injured in one of these crashes, you need to know what rights you have to seek financial compensation.