Y Junctions

Similar to a T-Junction, a Y-junction gets its name due to being shaped like the letter Y. At a Y-junction, a minor road joins a major road at an acute angle.

Y-junctions come in many forms, some that can be deceptive and unexpected. Y-junctions, as with any other type of junctions can be ‘open’ (easy to see traffic on the opposing road) or ‘closed’ (a blind junction obscured by foliage, fences etc) See road junctions for further information.

Also Due to the fact that many years ago pitchforks were made with 2 prongs, this type of junction can also be referred to as a Fork in the road. Basically where it splits into 2.

Watch Our 2 Minute Tutorial on Y junctions



Dealing With Y Junctions

Y junctions

They can also be ‘unmarked’ junctions (no road markings – usually found at quiet residential areas or rural locations) or ‘marked’ junctions (with road markings found at busier locations).


Y junctions Traffic Exiting

They are designed to let traffic exit the junction

from 2 seperate directions

So reducing the need for traffic queues and waiting times of cars waiting to leave the junction


Y Junctions Traffic Coming In


It also allows traffic from 2 seperate directions

To enter from the main road.

Therefore reducing delays and congestion on the main road at busier times


Turning Left At a Y Junction


If you are turning left at one of these junctions

Then just think of it as a normal emerging situation.

Try and look and assess if its an open or closed junction

Use MSPSGL on approach, then decide whether you can go or need to give way

Turning Right at a Y Junction

Turning Right

If you are turning right at a fork in the road or Y junction, you need to do it, in 2 seperate manoeuvres.

The first is as you approach and apply your right signal is to look for any cars that may be coming from the left side,

If there are any, you have to give way to them.

Beware of Cars From Your Left Stopping

Make sure that you look for cars approaching from the left as they to may need to give way to cars entering the junction from their left.

So you may expect the car to drive past you, so that you can go behind it, however, rather than drive past you it may just abruptly stop in front of you.

Be aware that they may stop in front of you

However even if you can see that there is no traffic coming down from the

cars left hand side, don't presume that he will clear your car and keep going.

They may never have encountered a Y junction before

and very often drivers just panic and hit the brakes until they are sure

that its clear to go

If Its Clear Then Just Go Across


If you can see on approach that there is nothing coming from your left

then once you have done mirrors and signal

You can just head across towards the left kerb

But remembering not to build up speed as you now have to deal

with the give way lines.

Y Junction Give Way Lines

Once you have dealt with cars coming from the left, the next thing to be aware of is the give way lines at the end of the road.

This part is easy to overlook or to try and do without proper observations.

But this is another danger zone because of the blindspot.

Y junction Blind Spots

Give Way Line Blind Spot

Because of the angle of a fork in the road or a Y junction, it leaves a very large blindspot to the left.

It is all too easy to keep rolling over the line AS you look

The problem with this is, you need to know whether it is clear or not BEFORE you decide whether to go across the give way line

Not as you are already going across it.

Y junctions - Blindspot and Speed Limit

The other thing to keep in mind with the danger of the blindspot, is the speed of the road that you are emerging onto.

Not only do you need to make sure that you have enough time and space to pull out but also do you have time to get to the speed limit?

After all, if you are pulling out onto a 60 mph road, you really need to make sure of the gap in traffic, before you even try to decide whether it is safe to emerge.

Y junctions - Cyclists and Motorbikes

Y Junctions can be hazardous. Due to the acute angle of the junction exiting the minor road onto the major road, A-pillars (the two pillars either side of the windscreen) can often produce a blind spot.

This blind spot can easily obscure a cyclist of motorcyclist.

To reduce the risk of accidents, always take sufficient time to look up and down the road at least twice before proceeding.

Y junctions Keeping Safe

There are a few simple things you can do to keep cyclists safe at junctions:

  • Cyclists might be going faster than you think (could be over 20mph) so judge their speed carefully before pulling out in front of them at a junction.
  • Watch out for them on roundabouts – you still need to give way to cyclists approaching from the right.
  • If a cyclist's turning right, wait behind them in the same way as you would for a car, rather than squeezing past or getting impatient.
  • Expect cyclists in unexpected places – always check your mirrors before turning.
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