The in basket: Chuck Regimbal e-mailed to say, “A while back I was traveling west on Highway 104. About a mile before it intersects with Highway 101 there is a long downhill run. Near the top of this hill is a sign for downhill traveling vehicles to ‘yield to uphill traffic.’”
I am confused by this sign,” he said. “Why is it there? The uphill traveling traffic has two lanes, one for slow traffic. Further, I thought that ‘Yield to uphill traffic’ was meant for uphill traveling traffic to yield to downhill traveling traffic. If so, the sign should be on the other side of the road.
“When on forest roads, and going downhill with a trailer in tow,
it is more difficult to back a trailer up a hill than for the
downhill from the encounter to back down the hill. So ‘yield to uphill
traffic’ is really meant for the driver traveling (moving) in the uphill
direction,” he said. then asked. “How should this be interpreted?”
The out basket: I don’t know what might be the rule on forest roads, which might not even be two lanes wide. But the sign he mentions is intended to tell those driving in the single downhill lane on three-lane Highway 104 that they cannot try to pass a car going in the same direction if there is a vehicle coming uphill in the inside lane close enough to be imperiled by the act of passing. The vehicle traveling uphill has the right of way.
Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the state’s Olympic Region, says the stripe separating the two directions of travel is dashed on the downhill side, permitting passing when no oncoming traffic is close by.
Uphill traffic couldn’t benefit from seeing the sign, as that side has a solid yellow stripe that forbids crossing it to pass. Uphill traffic already has two lanes in which to get around one another.