Stories of my family...and other stuff

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Four-Way-Stop

I have an issue with a few California drivers. The issue, particularly, is how they deal with four-way-stop intersections. (I understand that this problem probably reaches beyond my cozy corner of the continent, but since California drivers are the ones I deal with most, they are the ones I'll pick on.) I know, I know, it seems a bit trivial, but it really irks me that people don’t know their driver handbooks or at least disregard them.

Of course, you know the laws regarding four-way-stops, but I’d like to briefly go through them. The first basic rule is that the first vehicle to stop at the intersection is the first to go. The rub is when vehicles get there at the same time. Two vehicles pull up to the intersection at the same time on opposite sides of the street. Let’s say one is going north and the other is going south. The vehicle going straight or turning right has the right-of-way over the vehicle making a left hand turn. Hopefully, turn-signals have been engaged, if necessary, to indicate to the other driver the vehicle’s intentions. If two vehicles arrive together with intersecting paths, i.e. one is heading east and the other is heading south, then the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way, no matter what. If three arrive together, the far right-hand vehicle still has the right-of-way, followed by the next right-hand vehicle and so on. Finally, if four arrive at the same time, one car at each of the four stop signs, the right-hand rule falls apart. In this instance and only this instance someone needs to signal to someone else to go through. Courtesy reigns during this scenario, for the vehicles are at an impasse. There is no other option.

Now, let’s move on to my problem. Here is the scenario. I pull up to an intersection at the same time as a vehicle to my right. Following the driver handbook rules, I wait for the other driver to pull through. He has the right-of-way, so I let him go, but he doesn’t go. He sits there and looks at me, waiting for me to go. I don’t go, because I don’t have the right-of-way. Unfortunately, I apparently am the only one who knows this. Finally, he waves me through. What?! Don’t you know your driver handbook?! You have the right-of-way!! Don’t wave me through!! But, in the interest of time and courtesy I pull through.

Another situation that has happened is equally disturbing. I pull up to the intersection at the same time as another car, only this time I am on the right. Just as I begin to take my foot off the brake to drive through, the driver waves me through. Really?! You’re gonna wave me through?! I have the right-of-way and already know it?! Don’t wave me through!! So, naturally, I punch the accelerator, swerve through the intersection, just clipping the front bumper of the offending vehicle, shake my fist angrily at the annoyingly, unnecessarily courteous driver, and speed off down the road. Then I clear my head and realize I’m still at the stop sign. So, I finish releasing the brake, slowly apply my foot to the gas, and nicely, discreetly drive on my merry way. I know it won’t be the last time I have to endure another four-way-stop.

By the way, thank you to all of you who have met me at these intersections and followed the appropriate procedures. I love you.

Now, if only I could solve the problem of world hunger.


TwoSticks said...

See, Ken, the're doing you a favor by breaking the law, "allowing" you to go out of turn. Things do go a lot smoothlyer when everybody follows the rules. Shows weakness/indecisiveness rather than politeness, of course there's always those who just flat out aren't paying attention, which is usually obvious just by looking at the driver (I need not explain). in which case they forfeit their privileges (and my respect-for what it's worth).

Kenthe2 said...

I think the not-paying-attention theory is probably best. You can just hear their brains...

"Oh man, who got here first?! Was it me? Was it him? I should never have looked down at those fries. I can get them by just feeling around. Of course, then my hand would end up all ketchupy. What am I doing at this stop sign? Why is that guy just sitting there? I'll wave him through."

Of course, this all happens within two-tenths of a second. All the while, you're wondering why that dope is just staring at you.

Kenneth said...

I like it when it happens at night and you can't see the face of the other drivers. Everybody creeps out about two inches at a time wondering if the other driver sees them and hopes they do. When another driver creep moves you stop to allow him to go, but he stops too, then you punch it before his foot can get off the brake. The best part about this is that you don't know if you were dealing with a male or female driver.
Grandpa TwoSticks

Kipp said...

I can just see you swerving in your fifth wheel! LOL!!! While this bugs me too I guess I am the jerk who just goes for it if everybody else is gonna sit like a lame duck! Happy driving!