The in basket: Christopher Pust writes, “Whenever I am coming
home from Lowe’s on Fuson Road (in Bremerton), preparing to turn
left onto Riddell, I find that people are confused about who has
the right of way.
“I consider that I am turning left at what could be considered a
two-way stop (though Almira doesn’t intersect exactly in line with
Fuson). This causes me to believe that I must yield to
everyone else at the intersection.
“Others don’t seem to see it this way and constantly try to wave
me through. I was taught that I should avoid complying with a
‘wave-through’ and not to wave anyone through because it might
confuse who is at fault in the case of a collision.
“I think it is just best to go when you actually have the right
of way. So the end result at this intersection is people on
Almira (going straight or turning right) will try to wave me
through the intersection, I ignore this and give no other
direction, and they wait forever and finally (out of frustration)
enter the intersection.
“Since the two roads, Almira and Fuson, aren’t perfectly aligned
I could also see that coming from Almira onto Fuson would
technically be a right turn onto Riddell and a left turn onto
Fuson. This frame of thought would still require me to yield
to them if I am turning left off of Fuson onto Riddell.
“So, who has the right of way at this intersection if someone on
Fuson is turning left and someone approaches on Almira going
straight or turning right?”
The out basket: Well, first, let’s get the street names correct.
The two legs of the street Christopher mentions are both Almira,
which doesn’t end until the 90-degree turn where Fuson starts a
little to the north. It does jog to the side at Riddell, an often
troublesome alignment road engineers try to avoid or correct when
That said, the official word from the Bremerton and Kitsap
County law enforcement (Riddell happens to mark the city limit, so
either agency might have jurisdiction there) is that Christopher is
correct in his actions.
“While at the stop sign at the intersection of Almira Drive and
Riddell Road, intending to turn left to head eastbound, a driver
must yield to all other traffic that is in the intersection,” says
Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for Kitsap County Sheriff’s
“This includes yielding to traffic that may be continuing across
Riddell Road on Almira Drive,” he said.
“Which vehicle has the right of way? Any traffic that
already is on the roadway of Riddell Road at either
intersection has the right of way.
“For those courteous drivers who wave for you to ‘go ahead and
proceed’ because you may be at the stop sign for a period of time…
just shake your head from side to side (and smile) to indicate ‘No
“If there is any confusion about which vehicle has the right of
way, and a driver enters the intersection without yielding and a
collision ensues even though the driver was ‘waved on,’ that driver
will be held liable for causing the collision.
“Best advice: just wait until you’re clear to proceed,” he
Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police said he agrees.
I must say, though, that the Almira situation seems much like
that at a four-way stop, where common behavior deviates from the
law, which says a vehicle on the right has the right of way over
one to its left. In real life, drivers, myself included, usually
use a first-come, first served approach, pulling out slowly when
they feel its their turn and watching to see what others at the
intersection will do. I don’t recall ever having a close call doing
Cross-traffic on Riddell, of course, complicates that
comparison. It adds a perilous element not present at a four-way
stop. But when the only drivers are facing each other on
Almira, the wordless negotiation common to low-speed driving
conflicts should work there. It would take a panicky
driver to actually crash into someone coming the other way from a
stop on Almira.
But if someone does collide in such a low speed situation after
not yielding as the law directs, we now know who will get the