Simple Question: Why do YOU stop at a stop sign?

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Comment by SteveInCO on March 12, 2013 at 7:28am

It's not that the right (or left) side is intrinsically right

Ugh, I should have said "intrinsically correct" or "intrinsically best" to disambiguate.

Comment by SteveInCO on March 12, 2013 at 7:27am

Because clearly SOME sort of rule is needed for this situation.  This is the one people will understand and generally abide by, so it makes sense to follow it.  This is why one drives on the right side of the road (most places).  It's not that the right (or left) side is intrinsically right (leave that sort of thing for the god-botherers) but some choice may be made and once made, it's best to follow it.  Sometimes it truly is practical to follow "when in Rome..."

Stop signs are a source of confusion, at least here in the states, because there are two fundamentally different types and they look almost the same (the four way stop and the two way stop).  Even with a little "4 way" underneath the signs for the four way stop to disambiguate (yes that's a word), it's gotten to the point now where two-way stops are having a sign affixed to them that says "cross traffic does not stop"  The original error was using the same sign for both situations.  When coming up to the sign it was and sometimes still is necessary to make sure which situation you were in before proceeding.

I understand that in 4 way stop situations, the UK will simply paint a dot on the pavement in the "centre" of the intersection (intresection?), which tells the drivers "treat this as a traffic circle."  The rule then becomes look to your right, if someone is entering, stop, otherwise proceed.  (For us who drive on the right side of the road, we'd look left.)  It's beneficial for a couple of reasons:  1) there's no 4way/2 way ambiguity 2) the control marker is on the road, which is where your eyes ought to be, not off to the side looking at trees trying to figure out if they are hiding a sign, and 3) you aren't required to stop unless someone is there, avoiding the syndrome of the "California" or "rolling" so-called stop.  (How many people actually come to a full stop at a sign when they can see no one is there?  Why not make that legal?)

Comment by Michael Penn on March 12, 2013 at 7:05am

Not stopping may cause car wrecks, pedestrian impacts, and legal problems when you get the ticket. My personal pet peeve on 4 way stops is that we should do this according to who got to the intersection first. It says that in the drivers manual. What I see daily is chaos and cars that trail along immediately behind the one that should be moving. This means 2 cars are going through the stop at one time. The logic must be that it's OK, they stopped "behind" the other car. Cops could watch this and have a field day making money for the city, but usually they don't. In my town they are out on the freeway setting up "speed traps." I'm sure there is more money in that, but it should be illegal.

Comment by Richard Lawrence on March 8, 2013 at 9:19am

First: to avoid getting hit by another car, second: to avoid hitting another car and third: to avoid getting a traffic ticket.  There are some talented drivers who are able to achieve the trifecta in these situations.

Comment by tom sarbeck on March 8, 2013 at 2:03am

BTFW, I was neither a legalist nor a rationalist; I was a pragmatist.

Comment by tom sarbeck on March 8, 2013 at 2:00am

While living in Daytona Beach, on my way to and from work I often did not stop at a sign near my house.

To friends I spoke of my "dynamic stops".

In about three years the police ticketed me once.

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 6, 2013 at 4:26pm

Because I live in a society with need for traffic laws. If you have ever been in Turkey, you will understand exactly what I mean. With lots of people, lots of cars and bikes and other modes of transportation we need regulatory rules to make traffic flow faster, safer, with less stress. If I am the only person on a street, I see no reason to not go after stopping and looking. If I see a traffic cop, I would be a fool to go when there is no pedestrian or vehicle traffic. Getting traffic fines is like pouring money into a hole. 

Tom, you are funny.  I had to look up 


1: existing outside of nature
2: exceeding what is natural or regular : extraordinary <wits trained to preternatural acuteness by the debates — G. L. Dickinson>
3: inexplicable by ordinary means; especially : psychicem>preternatural phenomena>
Thanks. It works for me. 
Comment by Tom Reeves on March 6, 2013 at 2:28pm

I have a preternatural fear of red octagons.



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