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Yield sign (Give away) and Stop sign – simplified

When doing your road test, one of the things examiners look for is your understanding and confidence of traffic signs.  Yield sign and stop sign are not the same, but yet we do find people mix them up! These two signs, do have similarities and do have big differences too. Here will try to simplify the two signs.




At a stop sign intersection you MUST stop. You must come to a complete stop. Regardless, if the intersection (junction) is empty of traffic or pedestrians …the stopping is a must.


At a yield sign intersection, you are not required to stop UNLESS it is not safe to proceed through. Not safe could mean:

  • there are vehicles approaching from the other side of the intersection they have the right of way
  • there are pedestrians that are crossing in the intersection and therefore you must stop first before proceeding
  • your view is obstructed and you are not able to see the street clearly, in this case yes, may be to stop is a good safe idea, then you can move forward slowly till you can see clearly, and if safe you can proceed.




Here are some similarities:


  • they both are located at intersections (junctions)
  • both signs have red colour
  • they both advocate caution (with stop sign is a must stop first; and with yield sign if not safe then yes you have to stop)
  • they both warn you to only proceed if safe (with stop sign is a must stop first; and with yield sign if not safe then yes you have to stop)




As retired examiners we have seen many drivers, those taking the road test, get confused with these signs. The confusion, we don’t think is of the knowledge of what these signs are, but rather a form of habitual behavior. This is what we mean:

  • at the stop sign, they don’t come to a complete stop. They slow down and slow down and slow down as they are approaching the stop sign and when they see that the road is safe, they never complete their stopping.
  • at the yield sign, they come to a completes stop while the intersection is safe to proceed through
  • at the stop sign, they will stop fully, but then they don’t take the time to make sure they can see if the intersection is safe to proceed through, and most of the times, the intersection is not safe and they decide to turn or proceed through while not safe to do so.
  • When you make a complete stop at a stop sign, it does not mean then you have to go through or you have to make your turn. No, it means that after you complete your stopping, you must scan the intersection to make sure it is safe from vehicles, pedestrians or any hazards may be around the area before you proceed through.


Here are simple ways to help:


  • when approaching a stop sign intersection, focus on the sign itself so you can stop. Don’t focus on scanning the road yet, let the priority of your focus to be on the stop sign. You have no right of way to proceed until you stop first. The reason why you don’t want to check the road first is because if you kept looking to the left and right to see if it is safe, then there is a possibility you may not come to a complete stop especially if the road is safe to proceed.
  • When approaching a yield sign intersection, slow down and scan the intersection to see if safe to proceed, and to see if there are any signs such as stop or may be no sign at all on the other side of the intersection.  And if the intersection is safe to proceed, you don’t need to stop at all.




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