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Travis Baker blogs about the problems and idiosyncrasies of Kitsap highways and byways.
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‘Yield to uphill traffic’ sign on SR104 confuses driver

November 21st, 2012 by travis baker

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 driver positioned
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.

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2 Responses to “‘Yield to uphill traffic’ sign on SR104 confuses driver”

  1. Roger Says:

    Washington Driver Guide Page 66
    Going much SLOWER than OTHER VEHICLES can be as HAZARDOUS AS SPEEDING. It tends to make vehicles bunch up behind you and causes others traffic to pass you. Either drive FASTER or consider USING ANOTHER ROAD WITH SLOWER SPEEDS. If you are driving a SLOW MOVING VEHICLE on a 2 land road where it is unsafe to pass, and 5 or more vehicles are in line behind you, YOU MUST PULL OVER and STOP when safe to let them pass.

  2. Roger Says:

    A lot of drivers tend to drive slower than the Posted 60 MILES PER HOUR SPEED LIMIT, on this stretch WA-104 heading onto US 101 causing traffic to stack up on the lead vehicle. Most drivers want to pass the lead vehicle which has the cause for possible HEAD ON COLLISION. Now there is a State Law
    RCW 46.61.425
    Minimum speed regulation — Passing slow moving vehicle.

    (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law: PROVIDED, That a person following a vehicle driving at less than the legal maximum speed and desiring to pass such vehicle may exceed the speed limit, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.120 on highways having only one lane of traffic in each direction, at only such a speed and for only such a distance as is necessary to complete the pass with a reasonable margin of safety.
    On the Uphill stretch of this roadway and at 2 sections of WA-3 it clearly says “SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT” and on other roadways there is a road sign that clearly says “DELAY 5 OR MORE VEHICLES ILLEGAL”. Now the sign that says YIELD TO UPHILL TRAFFIC means that. If you traveling down hill and you wind up behind a Slower Driver and want to pass and you have oncoming traffic you cannot pass.

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You can reach Travis Baker at tvisb@wavecable.com

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