By Master Trooper Gary Cutler
Colorado State Patrol
The word “yield” has many meanings throughout the English language. You can yield to the next speaker or the land can yield food from the garden. But today I bring up yield as in the road sign.
Too often, I find that drivers treat a yield sign as a free-for-all to go through intersections or turn onto other roads without even slowing. A yield sign allows a driver to reduce speed instead of having to come to a complete stop. Call a yield sign a small time-saver. But remember, it doesn’t mean you may not have to come to complete stop if necessary to yield right of way to any traffic on the roadway you are going to cross or enter.
So, when approaching a yield sign, it means slowing to a reasonable speed, which allows you the ability to ascertain what is happening in the area. Ask yourself, did you give yourself enough time to accurately see if traffic is coming? Are there any pedestrians using the crosswalks? Do you have an acceleration lane or does it go directly into the lane of travel?
In my opinion, a good speed for a yield sign is quite often what I see when someone rolls through a stop sign. So, quick refresher there: Stop at a stop sign, and slow roll through the yield sign if its safe to do so.
Are you aware that when entering a roadway, that to do it safely and legally, you cannot alter the other vehicles’ pathway? This means causing them to slow from the speed they were going. Make sure you can get your vehicle up to the speed limit prior to another car coming up behind you as you enter that new road.
Now, let’s talk about what to do when an intersection has flashing yellow lights. This is another area I’ve seen drivers never even slow their speed when going through the intersection. This is highly dangerous. You need to know if the lights have malfunctioned and are showing yellow in all directions or if the road crossing your path is flashing red. Either way, those flashing lights require a driver to slow to a reasonable and safe speed to be able to once again ascertain how safe it is to proceed through the intersection.
“I now yield the floor.”
As always, safe travels.