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What is a staggered junction
When two or more minor roads join a major road, but not exactly in the same place, they form a staggered junction. You can find these junctions in both urban and rural areas and they are often used instead of a standard crossroad in busy areas, designed to stop traffic driving straight across major roads which could lead to accidents. You normally find the staggered crossroad in areas with a lot of traffic.
Staggered junction sign
If the intersection is controlled you’ll be made aware of the staggered junction by traffic lights, signs and road markings. Marked junctions will have either have give way markings or stop signs. Unmarked staggered junctions will have no signs or markings and you need to proceed with caution in this situation.
On the approach to a staggered junction, you will see a triangular red warning sign with a large major road and two side roads leading off it, on a white background. You often see this sign at uncontrolled crossings and once you locate the sign, you should start to slow down in good time and begin the MSM routine if you’re changing speed or direction.
You can also find directional road signs that indicate the presence of a staggered junction up ahead. These signs often display a road number and a location. You can use the information on the sign and the lane markings on the road to position yourself in the correct lane.
Who has priority at a staggered junction?
If you’re approaching the intersection from the minor road, you need to give way to vehicles on the major road. You are required to wait at the crossing for an appropriate gap as the vehicles on the road have priority over motorists on both minor roads.
Look out for signs and road markings indicating which lane you should be in and be prepared to treat staggered junctions as two separate roads.
As with all junctions you need to approach with caution, selecting the correct gear and speed based on whether the junction is open or closed and always the MSM driving routine when coming to a stop and changing directions.
If you are on the minor and wish to cross the major road and enter the adjoining minor road, you need to measure the gap between the two minor roads as this will define the correct procedure for crossing the road. If the distance between the two is insignificant, you can cross the road as you would a normal crossroad without the need for a signal. When the distance between the roads is small, applying a signal could confuse motorists in the opposite road, as they may assume you are tuning into the major road and not proceeding straight ahead, which could result in them pulling out and causing an accident. If the distance between the two is great, you should treat each crossing separately, applying the correct signal when you enter the new road and when you leave it too.
Tips to help you deal with staggered junctions
Although they can seem a bit confusing at first, staggered junctions are relatively straightforward to deal with, and here are some tips to help you do just that.
Wait for a suitable gap before emerging
Ensure you have the required space needed to cross the road without impeding other drivers. Look in both directions when crossing and only proceed when it is absolutely safe to do so.
Look out for incorrect signals
A common mistake many motorists make at this junction is to apply a signal when it is not necessary. If you in a minor road and a vehicle opposite you indicates, wait to see which way they actually turn before proceeding, as many drivers indicate while driving straight ahead and this can lead to accidents.
Practice moving off under pressure
As you will be either joining or crossing the major road at this junction, it is important that you are able to pull out without endangering other road users. Ensure you have good clutch control and you’re not prone to hesitation when moving off and making your gap.
If you’re worried about moving off under pressure, reading our guide on how to stop a car from stalling can help.