Friday, June 26, 2009

The Incomplete Guide to Complete Stops

Here's what the (gulp) Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles Driver's Manual says regarding four-way stops:

Follow these procedures when at an intersection with a four-way stop:

• Once stopped, you must yield to all other vehicles that were stopped prior to your arrival at the stop sign.

• Once having stopped, all other vehicles arriving at the intersection after you must yield the right of way to you.

• If two vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, you must yield the right of way to the vehicle on your right.

• As always, being courteous and respectful will help prevent dangerous situations and make the roadways safer for all drivers.

(Whew!) That was surprisingly concise and precise. Of course, to paraphrase Seinfeld: You know how to read the procedures, you just don't know how to follow the procedures. And that's really the most important part of the procedures: the following. Anybody can just read 'em. 

What's sad is that you DON'T read the procedures, Rhode Islanders, for if you READ the procedures, you would know that in order to expedite your trip, you wouldn't race through a four-way stop, you would race to the four-way stop. And by "race to," I don't mean you should speed up to the intersection and stop short, I mean that you should strive to be the first vehicle to come to a complete stop (yes, at your stop line) at the intersection. Then, the world would be your oyster, especially if someone then fails to yield to you, crashes into you, and gives you a mild concussion that prevents you from getting to the big meeting, at which you would have closed the Johnson account and made the company 4.6 million dollars. 

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