Driving 101: What Does A Yield Sign Mean?

yieldI nearly got taken out by a seafood truck this morning on my commute to work.

There is a section on my route where traffic enters the route that is notorious for people ignoring the yield sign.  Fortunately, I avoided a collision with seafood.

I am constantly irked by drivers who have a yield sign but totally ignore it since it isn’t an actual stop sign.  Instead of yielding it seems to be a race to the open spot.

So what is a yield sign anyway?

A yield sign indicates that merging drivers must prepare to stop if necessary to let a driver on another approach proceed. A driver who stops or slows down to let another vehicle through has yielded the right of way to that vehicle. In contrast, a stop sign requires each driver to stop completely before proceeding, whether or not other traffic is present. Particular regulations regarding appearance, installation, and compliance with the signs vary by jurisdiction.

yield_firstIn 1950, the world’s first yield sign was posted at the corner of First Street and Columbia Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before the sign was introduced, this intersection was considered one of the most dangerous in Tulsa. Although there was already a right of way law in place, it was difficult to enforce, and many drivers failed to abide by these rules. Officer Clinton Riggs, a Tulsa native and police officer, had begun developing a sign that he hoped would alleviate these problems. He also wanted to assign clear blame in the event of a collision and hoped his sign would make liability clear.

So why is there an issue with people ignoring yield signs?  It’s one thing – impatience.  This is yet another thing that impatient drivers do.

The point is to slow down for cars or other people, defer to other cars and incoming traffic, proceed when safe, and stop when necessary. There may be a traffic jam disallowing you to enter the major road, or there may be children crossing in front of you. Just because there’s a yield sign displayed doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk and keep on moving – a yield sign means that you should not only be cautious during the event, but also extra cautious for moments following as well.

A routine ticket for failure to yield can cost you between $75 and $400, depending on your state law and, sometimes, your driving record. Some states can base the fine, at least in part, on whether you have other recent violations.

I have learned that drivers in Nashville do whatever the heck they want to do.  Yielding simply does not exist.  It’s that NASCAR mentality I guess.  Race to the open space.  Get in front of the other drivers.  Drive offensively instead of defensively.

Think about that the next time you see a seafood truck blowing through a yield sign.


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