Traffic Control Devices

Why are there not more stop and yield signs in my neighborhood?
One of the most common requests received by the City of Amarillo Traffic Engineering Department is for the installation of STOP or Yield signs at residential neighborhood intersections.

Many intersections in Amarillo have no STOP or YIELD signs. They are regulated under the Transportation Code of Texas Traffic Laws Section 545.151(D)(1) which states that: A vehicle operator approaching an intersection not controlled by official traffic control devices shall stop, yield and grant immediate use of the intersection to traffic approaching the intersection from the operator’s right.

This is commonly referred to as the “Yield to the Right Rule”.

There are two exceptions to the rule: A “T” intersection where through street traffic has the right-of-way, and the intersection of a paved and unpaved roadway where the driver on the paved roadway has the right-of-way.

Low-volume residential streets operate best using the state’s yield-to-the-right rule stated above. This rule forces drivers to approach the intersection with more caution than would be necessary at STOP or YIELD controlled locations.

YIELD signs are considered at residential intersections where visibility is limited or accidents indicate a need to assign right-of-way, but vehicles do not have to stop at all times. Ordinarily the signs are placed on the street with the lower traffic volume.

STOP signs are considered at residential intersections where one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • The intersection of a less important road with a main road where the “yield to the right rule” may be unduly hazardous.
  • A street entering a through highway or street
  • Where a combination of speed, restricted view, and accident record indicates a need for traffic control by STOP signs.

In most cases, two-way stop control is sufficient to define right-of-way. Four way stops are helpful only when traffic volumes are high and approximately equal on all 4 approaches. Locations that experience traffic volumes of at least 500 vehicles per hour for at least 8 hours of an average day may benefit from 4-way STOP control.

STOP and YIELD signs are used to assign right-of-way. They are not installed to divert traffic or control speeding. Studies have shown that the use of signs to control speed does not have the desired effect. Speeds may be reduced in the immediate vicinity of the signs, however speeds are usually higher between intersections than before the signs were installed. Unnecessary STOP and YIELD signs also increase air pollution, waste fuel, and create more neighborhood traffic noise.

Under the right conditions, STOP and YIELD signs play an important role in neighborhood traffic safety. However, the misuse of them as a driver nuisance, speed break, or traffic diverter causes drivers to violate them and develop a disrespect for all traffic control devices…resulting in more traffic accidents overall.

If you feel there is a residential intersection which may need additional control based on the criteria listed in this pamphlet, please call the Traffic Engineering Department at (806)378-6294 or e-mail us. You can also visit our offices in Room 238 of Simms Building at 808 S. Buchanan St, or write us a P.O. Box 1971, Amarillo, Texas, 79105-1971.

A Public Awareness Program