2 yield signs can be confusing, so just be patient

Q: Who has the right-of-way if one direction of traffic has a “right turn yield” and the opposite has “left-hand yield on green”? People always act like they have the right-of-way going in both directions, often nearly causing crashes.

A. In life (and in driving) we’re in an ongoing pursuit of understanding. At the same time, perfect understanding is unachievable. A Sisyphean task, to be sure. I lead with that in order that we might have grace and patience for the people we share the road with when they fall short of understanding how to properly yield the right-of-way.

I’m going to guess you’re talking about an intersection that looks something like this: Here we have an intersection mostly controlled by traffic lights, with one right-turn lane managed by a yield sign. I’d like us to consider a couple scenarios, but before we do, keep in mind that the law requires a driver approaching a yield sign to yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection.

Scenario 1: Both cars in this diagram arrive at the intersection at about the same time. If the two cars approach the intersection from opposite directions, intending to turn west, and both arrive at the same time, there’s enough distance between the two that if they both go there shouldn’t be a conflict; the driver at the yield sign will enter the westbound lane, followed by the driver at the green light, who can see the right-turning car and adjust the speed appropriately.