Sunday, August 3, 2008

4 Way Stop Intersections

Are 4 Way Stop intersections more complicated than I think?

I learned years ago that one proceeds in the order that one arrives at the 4 Way Stop. The first one there goes first, then the next to arrive goes, and so forth.

Has this rule changed?

It's certainly not a complicated rule, but apparently at the intersection of Watts and Markham, it is a source of tremendous confusion for some. I'm starting to wonder if I simply don't understand the rule anymore and it's now as follows: wait to see if the person waves you to proceed, if they don't, you wave them to proceed.

Don't wave me on if it's not my turn! Let's just stick with the rules of the road, why don't we? I'm pretty sure that's a lot less dangerous for everyone since there's a predictability about who will be moving through the intersection next.


Valerie said...

Oh, this was a major source of our concern before the lights went in near our house.

It is very simple (and you're right). At a 4-way stop, the first to arrive goes first. If you arrive at the same time, the person on the right goes through, and it goes around a circle as needed.

You don't get to go just because the person across from you is going. You do have to stop, even if it looks like you'll get to go first. No waving!

And when the power knocks lights out, act as if it's a 4-way stop--the "main" road doesn't get preference. Urgh.

crisp said...

Heh. When Southern hospitality goes wrong...

I couldn't agree more. A transplant myself who's been here coming on 12 years now, I've always thought it was peculiar that Southerners culture of hospitality goes too far on occasion and actually causes more problems than it solves.

On the whole I'll take the hospitality though, including how nice people are about letting you merge onto the highway. We may just have to accept the good with the bad.

Lenore said...

I hate 4-way stops for that reason. I think a lot of drivers around here have never learned that you should not give up your right-of-way, because if you do and something goes wrong, you're still at fault.

etselec said...

In my experience it's not just 4-way stops, but also 2-way stops and traffic circles that the folks of Durham don't seem to get. I really don't understand what's so difficult about the concept. Also, there are a preponderance of folks who don't know to get out of the left hand lane when they're going slow on the highways. But maybe I'm just a D.C.-area raised driving jerk. ;)

toastie said...

When I stop at a 4-way stop, I assume I automatically concede any "ties", not out of courtesy, but because I don't trust anyone. So I'm probably part of the problem, giving other drivers the idea that they've got the right-of-way when they don't.

Of course, I live in the Walltown grid between Markham and Club, and the the pattern of what directions on what streets get stop signs is woefully inconsistent, and I still get confused after almost two years. (Example--if you're on Knox Street, you don't stop at Lancaster, but you DO stop at Onslow...I think...)

Anonymous said...

I recently looked up 4-way stops in the NC traffic laws. It simply says: Come to a complete stop. Proceed with caution. That's it. Not the way I learned, albeit in another state, but I've been a North Carolinian for over 25 yrs and it still drives me crazy! I know my daughters weren't taught anything different in drivers ed.