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Give Way and Stop Signs: How to Use Them

The Give Way and Stop signs are part of everyday life as a motorist but do we use them correctly? These road signs are normally placed at road junctions that do not use traffic light to control the flow of traffic.



Give Way Signs

The traditional “GIVE WAY” sign is a white triangle with a red border and the words Give Way written in the triangle.
There is also a sign warning of a Give Way - some time before the junction itself. This is plain white triangle with a red border and a text plate below the triangle with the words give way. The distance to the Give Way in the UK is usually given in yards.


The approach to a junction may have a give way sign (red triangle with Give Way written in it) or a triangle marked on the road. You must give way to traffic on the main road.

Stop Signs

  • Warning of a “STOP" sign before a junction - this a blank white triangular sign with a red border around it and a text plate below with the word “STOP” on it, there is also a distance marked on the sign warning how far it is to the road junction
  • At the junction you will find a red octagonal sign with a white border with the word "STOP" written in it, where you must stop your vehicle behind the solid white line and wait until the road ahead is clear or has a sufficient gap for you to file into.

The difference between a “GIVE WAY” and a ”STOP” sign is that the road user must remember that: at a “GIVE WAY” you can just do as the sign says “GIVE WAY” and if the junction is clear then you can continue on your way, however, if you come to a “STOP” sign then your vehicle must come to a complete “STOP” even if the junction is clear. If you do not bring the vehicle to a complete halt, you can be convicted for breaking one of the laws of the road.

At all junctions you must take care as other road users could be using the same junction and are not easily visible at times.


Be Aware of Other Road Users

When approaching a “STOP SIGN” or “GIVE WAY” you should always be aware that other road users may not have seen or heard that you are approaching from behind. You should also watch out for pedestrians crossing a road as they may not be aware that your vehicle is ready to turn onto this carriageway.

There is a need to watch out for Heavy Goods Vehicles, as they sometimes need the entire width of a road junction to make the turning, if you see one approaching leave a little room from the end of the junction so that they can make the turning with greater ease. This is good road manners.

Another road-user to look out for out for are horse-riders who may take a different line on the road from that which you may expect. You should always wait on a vehicle turning into your junction before you pull out as that road user may have not turned his/her indicator off after their last manoeuvre.

When moving off a “STOP" sign or “GIVE WAY” sing be sure to look all around before emerging from your junction and wait for a safe gap in the traffic before you move off.

Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.