I guess I’m getting old and grouchy. Or maybe I’m not old, but just plain persnickety. Whatever it is, I seem to be the only one around bothered by people who run stop signs. Sure, there are letters to the editor in my paper about stop sign runners or people who apply their brakes ever so slightly when approaching a signed intersection. But who’s going to do anything about it?
Most of the major intersections in my area are controlled, which is good. We used to be an area of 4-way stops and there was always someone who wouldn’t yield the right of way. Frustrating, but what can you do? It’s actually pretty fun to watch anxiety levels rise by coming to a complete, wheels-don’t-turn stop at a 4-way stop. Try it sometime. I never realized that I wasn’t stopping at stop signs before until my local Safe Kids coalition did an observational survey at an intersection a few years back. Out of several hundred vehicles observed, something like only 3 actually came to a full and complete stop at the stop sign. I was shocked and immediately on the drive home paid attention to my driving habits. Sure enough, I wasn’t stopping my wheels either when I thought I was. Now when I see a stop sign or a red light when I’m turning right, I come to a complete stop, much to the chagrin of the driver behind me (sorry, dude, it’s the law and I’m gonna stop).
I’m still amazed by the drivers who don’t even slow down at a stop sign or red light when they turn right. It’s like it’s not even there; the world revolves around them and everyone else should yield to them, right? What the heck? The thing is the number of drivers who do this. If I only saw it happening once a week, I’d write it off as the person was distracted (um, who hasn’t been?), but it’s often several times a day. This kind of driving, plus all the drunk and otherwise impaired drivers on the road, plus the drivers going 80 mph in a 45 mph zone make me feel like a moving target who will one day run out of luck.