In Which I Rant About 4-Way Stops

Illustration for article titled In Which I Rant About 4-Way Stops

I don’t know what happened in the last couple years, but it seems everyone around my town has come down with a serious case of the dumb and can no longer muster the mental capacity to use a 4-way stop. I thought this was easy. If you get there first, you go first. Apparently this is no longer true and the order in which you go is based on some convoluted rule set written and set into law without my knowledge based on some mixture of what car you drive and the precise angle of the sun. Since I do not posses tools in my car to measure the sun’s angle lately I’ve resorted to just getting angry.


This has been happening more and more. I will pull up to a stop sign, where another car is already at a full stop to either my right or left. I then watch this person as they have the right of way and I’m expecting them to go. Except that this person has taken this exact moment to do their best deer impression and just freezes. After what feels like long enough for me to walk over to their car, open the door, slap them, and push the gas myself, they finally raise their hand and wave me through. WHAT?!

For a short while I would refuse, and force them to follow the rules that say the first car stopped goes first. But that got tiresome. So now I just floor it and angry stare as I go past. I’m sure they have no idea I’m doing this. I realize that some people are trying to be nice, but this is not a social situation that requires you to be nice. Nobody gets angry because you went on your turn at a stop.


Heaven forbid if I ever meet one of these eggplants with extremities at the 3-way stop I have to navigate to leave my neighborhood. The road out has no stop because it’s on a hill and in the winter most people would get stuck because they bought into the whole “all season tires are miracle devices that work everywhere” BS. However all three other directions have a stop, and are properly labeled with “3-Way Stop”. So leaving my neighborhood each morning consists of slowing down, checking each direction, making eye contact with the same car I’ve done this with 3 times this week, and then either locking up my brakes or flooring it as they start to ease into the intersection just as I’m coming into it.

Everyone always complains about rotaries because they’re just “so hard to figure out”, and laments that we should replace them with 4-way stops. But how will that be better when apparently the average person can’t even figure out who has the right of way at one of those?


Maybe self driving cars really will help. At least then I can just place all blame on that one mystical programmer that lives “there” and clearly wrote the entirety of the code controlling that car.

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