What Does A Yield Sign Mean?

Road sign systems can be confusing for less experienced drivers. There are several tricky signs which are hard to read; you just need to remember them. The yield sign is one of these. To avoid confusion, we dedicate this article solely to this vital sign and the laws and regulations behind it.

What does a Yield sign mean?

The yield sign is a regulatory sign. At a yield sign, drivers must slow down and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicles that are approaching from another direction.

If a yield line is painted on the pavement, the drivers must yield the right-of-way before crossing the yield line. The drivers may proceed only after yielding and only when it’s safe to do so.

The yield sign is a regulatory sign. According to the rules, when you see a yield sign, you should drive slowly, below five mph, to see if there is any other traffic crossing.

Seeing the yield sign, the driver must slow down and yield their right to other vehicles and pedestrians approaching from different directions.

If you notice other cars or pedestrians, you need to stop and let them go, or you can proceed with the movement if you do not see anybody, or they are still at a safe distance.

What Does A Yield Sign Mean

History Of the Yield Sign

The word “Yield” on the sign means “give way” or “concede.” In 1950, the world’s first yield sign was posted at the corner of First Street and Columbia Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before the sign was introduced, this intersection was considered one of the most dangerous in Tulsa.

Although there was already a right of way law in place, it was difficult to enforce, and many drivers failed to abide by these rules. Officer Clinton Riggs, a Tulsa native and police officer, had begun developing a sign that he hoped would alleviate these problems. He also wanted to assign clear blame in the event of a collision and hoped his sign would make liability clear.

The original yield sign was keystone shaped and read “Yield Right of Way” in black letters on a bright background. Originally, yellow was used because reflective material was not yet available and yellow was the most visible color at night.

Within a year of the sign’s posting, accident rates dropped dramatically, and drivers learned to approach the intersection with caution. Inspired by the success of the original sign, Tulsa posted more yield signs and spread the word to neighboring cities.

Where Are Yield Signs Posted?

Yield right of way signs are shaped like triangles pointing downward and have a red border on a white background. Yield signs are posted at intersections where roadways and auxiliary roads lead into a major highway.

Some yield signs specify to give way to pedestrians only, which look more like rectangular boards. Also, a yield sign could be accompanied by a turn sign which allows you to turn only in one direction.

What To Do When You See A YIELD Sign?

Slow down and stop if necessary. Be aware of other vehicles behind you or approaching from opposite directions. Look for pedestrians – especially children – nearby and proceed with caution to avoid accidents. You may also stop to let another vehicle pass first but do so with enough time to warn vehicles behind your car.  

  • On a multi-lane roadway, if the vehicle on another lane has the right-of-way, slow down and let them pass before you proceed. 
  • At an intersection, slow down and proceed carefully if there are no other vehicles or pedestrians. You needn’t stop.
  • If you spot other vehicles approaching the intersection, the general rule is to allow the one who arrives at the intersection to pass first. So, if you reach the intersection first, slowly proceed through it or stop and wait till the other vehicle(s) have passed. 
  • You can stop at a YIELD sign if you think it is safer for others to proceed before you do. However, this may upset drivers behind you. But that’s okay – safety first!

The Difference Between A Stop Sign And A Yield Sign

A yield sign isn’t the same as a stop sign, but they are similar! When you encounter a yield sign, it means that you’ll need to allow oncoming traffic or pedestrians to go first before you continue driving. If no other people or vehicles are coming from the other direction, you don’t need to come to a complete stop.

At a stop sign, you must always come to a complete stop. Even a rolling stop can get you a ticket. This is why stop signs are more common at four-way intersections, while yield signs are more common when merging or entering a roundabout.

Why Is The YIELD Sign Used For Traffic Regulation?

The basic purpose of a YIELD sign is to avoid confusion regarding who should pass first at an intersection or other areas where vehicular or pedestrian traffic is high. Unfortunately, the sign itself becomes a point of confusion for many drivers. Often, those who understand the rule and slow down/stop at YIELD signs face criticism from other drivers pulling up behind their cars. 

Following the YIELD rule is vital to safe driving – defensive driving is better for all. Allowing other vehicles to proceed first during lane changes or at the intersection often works out in everyone’s favor. And you are not saving time by driving aggressively without regard for traffic rules. YIELD signs prevent accidents and congestion in high-traffic areas due to unsafe driving practices.