|The A38 / A368 Crossroads at Churchill|
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A Crossroads is one of the most basic junctions, where two roads cross each other, with one usually having priority and the other forced to give way. They are frequently controlled by Traffic Signals, especially in an Urban situation. Whilst the very word crossroads implies that the two routes are crossing at 90 degrees, this is far from the case a lot of the time, with crossroads bearing a variety of shapes. It is also not always a straight-through route that gains priority. In some cases, the major route is turning through the crossroads, producing two side turnings in quick succession on the same side of the road.
Four Way Stop
A four way stop (sometimes known as an all way stop is a variation on the crossroads; in this case, all approaches to the junction have stop signs, requiring vehicles to stop. The system is predominantly used in the United States of America, Canada, and South Africa, and to a lesser extent in Sweden. There are some examples in the Republic of Ireland; although in the UK the layout is not specified as a permitted variant in TSRGD 2002 (s3(16) and s4(25)). Priority may differ from country to country, but it is typical for priority to be assigned based on who has been waiting at the junction for the longest time.
A variation on the basic crossroads is the staggered crossroads. This is where the lesser route does not cross the major route in a straight line, but with a slight dogleg between the two arms. Whilst this can simply be a historic situation, it is more often than not the result of the Highway Authority trying to improve safety at a difficult junction. In these cases, right-turn lanes are often set into the middle of the main route, or long left slips provided so that slow crossing traffic hinders the main flow as little as possible.
Maps will often mark junction names in rural areas, especially when the names are traditional. Often these names are suffixed with 'Cross', for example Red Post Cross or Ash Cross. These names come from landmarks in the vicinity - A red post or a notable Ash Tree. However, they could just as easily come from the name of the nearby farm, or village as at Horton Cross. Some places, such as Wheddon Cross near Exmoor, have developed into small villages, other Cross Junctions virtually obliterated by new roads being built, and so leaving the old junction shorn of traffic, or indeed roads in some instances.
Of course, not all such junctions are even Crossroads. In fact, there are probably fewer straightforward crossroads junctions bearing the Cross suffix than there are T Junctions, Fiveways or staggered junctions.