Posted by: safedriver | October 25, 2010

How many drivers really know what yielding means?

Drivers across our country seem to have a different interpretation to a lot of driving rules. Most drivers won’t admit it, but I see it happen almost every day that I drive. The one that I witness most often is the difference between stopping and yielding. Is there a difference? When do you not have to yield? How clear are you with regards to yielding to traffic? Let’s find out.

Close to my home is this lovely roundabout. There are plenty of yield signs as you can see. The problems go from one end of the scale to the other end. Some drivers I see will barely slow down, even when they see traffic already at another side of the roundabout. Other drivers will stop completely, even when no other vehicle is in sight. What’s the correct way to deal with a yield sign?

As you approach a yield sign, you must look to see if any traffic is approaching from the other directions. This would include vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. If there isn’t any other traffic, you can keep going without having to come to a complete stop. Be sure to reduce your speed enough that can allow you to stop if someone is approaching. If you’re assuming it will be clear and it isn’t, you’ll stop late and perhaps block part of their path or perhaps have your vehicle struck by another vehicle.

If you’re approaching the yield sign and there is traffic approaching from other directions, you must at least slow down enough to let them pass by safely. You may not have to come to a complete stop if they’ve passed you before you come to that stop. In other words, don’t stop for the sake of stopping.

That brings up another point. In this particular roundabout, I see drivers who have entered the roundabout and then as they approach other roads that lead up to this roundabout, they stop. Why? This doesn’t make any sense at all. They’re not facing a yield sign any longer, but the other drivers who are approaching the roundabout are. This is hugely confusing to the drivers who have a yield sign. If you see drivers who are yielding to you, no need to yield to them. It especially doesn’t please the drivers behind you if you’re yielding when you shouldn’t. The drivers behind you aren’t expecting you to slow down or stop, therefore a rear crash may happen.

And by the way, the yield signs at this roundabout actually have a sign underneath it that says; “Yield to traffic in the roundabout”. Shouldn’t that make it easier for drivers to understand how to drive near yield signs? Understand the rules of the road before heading out there. If you’re not completely sure about what to do, research the information or ask an expert. Hopefully this information will help to clear up any confusion you have regarding yielding.



  1. There is a yield sign in Oakville that I swear causes more accidents than any other yield sign in the country. Fortunately I don’t live near it and I try to avoid it as much as possible. I’m sure the cause for all the problems is drivers not understanding what the sign means and just barging into the oncoming traffic without checking first.

  2. I’m beginning to think most drivers think a yield sign means the same as a green light!
    Entering an Interstate Highway is another example; the idea of an on-ramp is you bring yourself up to speed and merge into a safe gap in traffic. If there is no safe gap, you are supposed to yield to traffic, not barge your way in and cut people off.

  3. Ok so I’m getting my license soon and we have to do 8 hours of driving with an instructor in order to be eligible for your license. I was doing my last hour and I was coming to a yield sign taking a right turn into another road. As I cand to it I slowed down and look to see if anything was coming. There was nothing in sight so I did not come to a complete stop and I made my right turn and continued down the road. The instructor then told me if this was my test I would have automatically failed because no matter what you have to come to a complete stop at a yield sign. And I told him I had never heard that before do I’m soooo confused. Thnx

    • I’ve never heard of that either, in any jurisdiction. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding, either that or the instructor needs to brush up on the rule. 😉 My suggestion to you is to go online with your jurisdiction and find out yourself. Maybe you can help your instructor as well. Good luck!

  4. Yes! This drives me crazy! Why on earth would someone think they should slow down once inside the circle? Then again maybe they were almost hit by an idiot who doesn’t know how to yield to those inside the circle and therefore it’s a vicious cycle…a vicious traffic cycle.

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