All Way Stops

All Way Stops

Common across North America, this type of junction is found in many quiet neighbourhoods and suburbs. They are also more commonly known as four-way stops, although these only relate to where the junction is a crossroads.

Despite not being an officially permitted junction design in the United Kingdom, there are a fair few dotted around the country… there’s even a Nottingham estate that’s full of them!

So what are they?

Well, to put it simply, they are junctions (or crossroads) where all approaches are required to give way. In essence, they are considered to be a form of traffic management, as all traffic is required to slow down and come to a stop.

They are generally used on roads with a traffic flow of less than 10% of an average main road. This means they are ideal for narrow roads in housing estates, especially those with long rows of terraces and tight corners.

At the junctions themselves, stop lines are located at the exit to each individual road, ensuring that traffic stops and checks for other traffic, particularly vehicles that have right of way.

Priority is always given to the vehicle that arrives first, regardless of which direction they are coming from.

Subsequent vehicles then take turns to go, but are only permitted to enter the junction in the order that they arrived.

If more than one vehicle arrives at the same time, priority is given to the vehicle on the right. To put it simply, the junction works in the similar way as mini-roundabout, the only difference is that there is no central island in the middle of the junction road.

The same principle should also be applied at signalised junctions when the signals have failed.

In the USA and Canada, it is mandatory to stop, as all roads are marked with stop lines and stop signs. Small plates appear beneath the stop sign stating that the junction is a Four-way Stop.

Where to find them

Here’s a selection of where these junctions can be found:


Basil Jackson

Basil Jackson

Managing Director at Vemco Consulting
VEMCO was established in 2012 by Basil Jackson, a chartered civil engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in local government. Designations: BEng, MSc(Eng), CEng, MICE, DMS Managing Director, Vemco Consulting
Basil Jackson


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