90-degree Southworth curve gets unusual Yield sign

The in basket: Scott Hall wonders about the Southworth area intersection where Stohlton Road meets Southworth Drive.

“There is a stop sign on Stohlton, along with flashing red lights to indicate one must stop before proceeding onto Southworth Drive,” Scott said.. “Southworth Drive makes a sharp, low-speed 90 degree turn to the right at this intersection.

“Southworth Drive is obviously the ‘mainline’ road, formerly being designated as a state highway.”

On a recent day, as he sat at the Sholton Road stop sign as traffic from a newly arrived ferry streamed by,  “something strange kept happening,” he said. .

“As the cars on Southworth Drive got close to the curve, they didn’t just slow way down for the corner, some of them hit the brakes hard, and came to a complete stop. It appeared they were waiting for me to proceed, although I couldn’t fathom why that might be.” After several cars did the same thing, he proceeded.

“About a week later, curiosity got to me,” he said, “and I altered my route so this time I would be coming down Southworth Drive when approaching the same intersection.

“Lo and behold, there is a shiny YIELD sign on Southworth Drive, just before the 90-degree curve.

“(It) baffles me as to why there would be a yield sign on the ‘mainline’, which seems to cause drivers to lock up their brakes and stop for any car already stopped at the stop sign on Stohlton Road,” he said. “Looks like a great spot to create an accident, where common sense says the mainline traffic should NOT be expecting a yield sign.”

The out basket: Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works explains the reasoning:  “This mainline is really obvious to the majority of people that use this route frequently, (but) the motorist that has never gone through this intersection is vulnerable to confusion. That motorist would not necessarily be expecting a right turn to stay on the mainline.

“If both legs of Southworth Drive were uncontrolled a motorist traveling westbound could turn in front of a motorist traveling northbound thinking they being first into the intersection should have the right of way.

“The yield sign makes it clear that the motorist has to yield to traffic that is in the intersection or could be an immediate hazard to their movement in the intersection.

“If the motorist at the stop sign proceeds into the intersection before the motorist gets to the yield sign, the motorist at the yield sign must stop.”



One thought on “90-degree Southworth curve gets unusual Yield sign

  1. I have reviewed the answer Doug Bear provided, but it’s not very satisfying. The yield sign appears to be no more than 100 feet from the intersection. If I remember correctly, (it’s been a few years) there had been a different sign at that location that said something like “free right turn without stopping”.

    I don’t believe a motorist’s relative position to a YIELD sign (vehicle before or past the sign) has any bearing on the requirement to yield the right of way. If a YIELD sign is used as a controlling sign, it is the lane of travel having the YIELD sign that must always give the right of way, regardless of a vehicles relative position to the controlling sign.

    That’s why the cars on Southworth Drive are standing on the brakes when they see a car on Stohlton rd. They have been directed, via the yield sign, to give right of way to the cars(s) on Stohlton rd.

    The poor bugger at the stop sign can’t proceed into the intersection until traffic that would cross before him/her (from the right or left)has cleared the intersection, and the poor bugger with the YIELD sign in his/her travel lane must give the right of way to any motorist AT OR WITHIN an intersection that would put the other motorist into the same travel lane.

    I’d say go back to the “free right turn without stopping” sign before somebody gets hurt, and the lawyers fix the blame on the county’s use of confusing signage.

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