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In 2014, the Bismarck Police Department took 292 reports of traffic crashes at uncontrolled intersections. In 2015, there have been 206 to date. An uncontrolled intersection is a road intersection where no traffic lights or signs are used to indicate the right-of-way.
Since it’s not practical to place stop signs at all intersections, it is a driver’s responsibility to pay extra attention when approaching an uncontrolled intersection. Never assume another driver will yield the right-of-way to you. Slow down, look and be prepared to stop.
If you’re turning left at an uncontrolled intersection, you need to give the right of way to oncoming traffic. Entering a street from a driveway or private road can also be problematic. In these situations, you need to yield to all drivers on the roadway before proceeding. The same rule applies when turning on to the highway from a country road.
North Dakota law requires that “if a vehicle approaches or enters an intersection that does not have an official traffic-control device and another vehicle approaches or enters from a different highway at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right. If the intersection is T-shaped and does not have an official traffic-control device, the driver of the vehicle on the terminating street or highway shall yield to the vehicle on the continuing street or highway.” (NDCC 39-10-22; Bismarck City Ordinance 12-09-17)
Failure to yield right-of-way at an uncontrolled intersection is a subject to a $20 fine and 2 points against your license under North Dakota Century Code.
Help everyone on the road stay safe by respecting the dangers of uncontrolled intersections. Know what to do when you approach one, and be cautious of those who don’t.