Questions: A couple questions this week regarding merging and yielding.
Pat Mills of Spanaway is wondering about the dreaded 176th Street South and Pacific Avenue/State Route 7 intersection.
“During rush hours, drivers from 176th stop for their red light, then proceed (southbound). There are short collector lanes, then these drivers force their way between the cars already on Pacific, who had a green light at the intersection. There is no sign on Pacific warning drivers of an upcoming merge. Are the drivers turning right supposed to be yielding to the cross traffic, or are the drivers on Pacific supposed to make room for these cars?”
Lake Tapps resident Dean Fuller has a more general question about yielding:
“Why are ‘yield’ signs not posted on every freeway on-ramp? Some ramps have yield signs – most do not. Why?”
Answers: Brian Walsh of the Washington State Department of Transportation addressed both questions:
“This first one is simple – drivers on SR 7 have the right of way. Drivers coming from SR 704 legally have to yield when merging onto SR 7.”
“People on both the mainline and those entering the highway have a dual responsibility to ‘merge’ or get along – they share this responsibility. This is posted as a warning sign that shows two lines ‘merging’ into an arrow”
“However, on ramps posted with ‘yield’ signs, the responsibility is with the driver of the vehicle entering the highway to yield the right of way to the driver already on the highway.
“There may appear to be some inconsistency where the merge/yield is placed. A person my use a series of roads leading to the on-ramp, and there can be other roads that join the ramp. For the vast majority of cases of on-ramps, the last merge onto the mainline of the freeway will have the ‘merge’ warning sign, not the yield sign.”