In cities where traffic at major intersections tends to cause gridlock you'll find what are known as box junctions. Box junctions are areas on which the surface of the road, or the square that makes the intersection, is outlined in paint and marked with a large "X." Sometimes the boxes are painted white but in most areas you'll find they are painted yellow.
Do Not Enter
The most important thing to remember when driving up to a box junction, many of which drivers are alerted to with road signs, is not to enter the box unless you know you will be able to exit without a long stop. This rule prevents cars from being stuck in the box when the traffic in front of them stops, ensuring clear passage for traffic in the other direction to cross when it is time.
Unmarked Box Junctions
In some countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Russia, the general rule is that all intersections are box junctions even though they are not painted. Occasionally you will see boxes painted on busy intersections or near railway crossings to serve as a reminder, but do not take these markings as a sign that it's acceptable to block unmarked intersections.
In countries where motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road it is permissible to enter the box junction while waiting for a gap in traffic that will allow you to make a left-hand turn. The alternative is true in countries where drivers use the left side of the road and may need to cross traffic in order to make a right-hand turn.
Box Junction Locations
Box junctions were originally introduced in the United Kingdom. They are now commonly used in several states, cities and countries around the world including, but not limited to, Colorado, Hong Kong, Malta, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, New York City and hundreds of other small cities and towns. Make sure you check the driving regulations for any town you may be visiting in a foreign country, because violating box junction rules can result in traffic citations and heavy fines.