Stop being so nice and go

 In Opinion

Drivers are too considerate when it comes to navigating four-way stops.

Now that we have more of them in Creemore, it has become very apparent that people don’t know how to use them properly or chose to be polite and give everyone else the right-of-way. This is a nice idea but it is actually confusing, and dangerous.

We are a polite bunch but being overly considerate at four-way intersections only causes problems.

There are rules, and rules are meant to be followed. Think back to driver training:

When approaching a four-way stop, the first driver to come to a full stop has the right of way. (We won’t gripe about people not making full stops at this time.)

If two vehicles arrive at the same time and are facing each other, the left-turning vehicle must yield to the oncoming vehicle, meaning the driver who is going straight through the intersection goes first.

If two vehicles arrive at the same time and are perpendicular to each other, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way and the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right. The person turning left must wait for approaching traffic to pass and for all pedestrians and cyclists to cross before proceeding.

Driver training will tell you that communication is key in supporting the rules of the road. Smiles, nods, and hand gestures improve driver confidence but they don’t change the rules.

Almost every time there is more than one vehicle at a four-way stop, drivers are waving everyone else through the intersection, insistent that they go first. One can only assume that people have forgotten how these things are supposed to work.

Coaxing someone into an intersection when it is not their turn only causes confusion – and in some cases, road rage.

Now, in the rare case that four vehicles arrive at the intersection at the exact same moment, hand gestures (polite ones, please) are the only way to figure out who will go. This is not a big problem in Creemore.

Clearview council voted to install new stop signs in Creemore recently creating new four-way stops as a way of slowing traffic. The residents who championed the signs are happy to have them on their street corners and others have been quite vocal about their opposition to the additions. We won’t ever agree on the use of the signs as a traffic calming measure but now that they are there, the law is clear on how to use them.

If it’s your turn, go.

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