The literal message of a STOP sign is clear and uncomplicated. The intent behind a STOP sign is to assign and control traffic right-of-way.
YIELD signs are typically installed at intersections that do not necessarily require approaching vehicles to come to a full stop if conflicting traffic is not present.
Both signs are considered at locations where prevailing traffic volumes
and reported accident history make assignment of right-of-way desirable.
As simple as it might appear on the surface, the decision to install
these signs requires careful consideration of engineering criteria.
Drawbacks to STOP & YIELD Signs
National standards dictate that STOP and YIELD signs shouldn't be installed as an attempt to reduce speeding problems. When misused, the STOP sign can create an inconvenient situation for motorists and pedestrians that can even cause potential safety concerns.
Drivers are more likely to intentionally violate an unwarranted sign. Research has also revealed that motorists often increase their driving speeds between intersections in an attempt to make up for lost time.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) outlines a set of warrants (or standards) against which all intersections can be evaluated. By applying consistent criteria to all intersections, we are able to ensure uniformity of sign placement. Maintaining uniformity helps preserve the expectation of drivers that all STOP signs are important and should command attention and respect.
Criteria For Installation
Traffic engineers analyze the various characteristics of an intersection to determine whether a STOP or YIELD sign is the best and most appropriate measure.
Some of the questions we ask are:
Is this an intersection of a main road with a less important road where application of the normal right-of-way rule is unduly hazardous?
Is this an intersection where a street enters an arterial?
Is this an intersection where a combination of speed, restricted view, and reported accident history indicates a need for control by the STOP sign?
Many times when a STOP sign is requested the engineering review shows that other traffic improvements may be more appropriate. Improving intersection visibility and sight distance or using less restrictive signing can make installation of STOP signs unnecessary.