A public service announcement.

From eHow.com, the appropriate way to handle a four way stop. Emphasis added is mine.

  1. Slow your vehicle when approaching a 4-way stop. As you stop at the stop sign or red light, notice if there are any cars at any of the other stops, or if there are any approaching at the same time.
  2. Stop your vehicle completely. This means that your tires are completely stopped and not rolling at all. If there are cross walk lines or painted indicators on the road, stop at the appropriate lines. If it is a stop sign and there are no lines on the road, stop when the front of your car is even with the stop sign. If there is something blocking your view of the other stops signs, you may move forward only after stopping completely at your own stop sign.
  3. Look at the other stops to see if there are any other vehicles stopped or moving. The vehicles leave the stop signs in the same order in which they arrived. The first vehicle to arrive at a complete stop is the first vehicle allowed to leave the stop sign.
  4. Know that if there is more than one vehicle arriving at the same time at the 4-way stop, the vehicle furthest to the right is allowed to leave first. Always allow at least a few seconds to make sure no one else takes off even if it is your turn to leave first. Many people do not follow this rule, even though it is the legal way to leave a 4-way stop.

Note that nowhere in that discussion does it say that if you drive a big Mercedes SUV, that means you get ahead of anyone, anytime.

It also doesn’t say that if you come screaming up to the four-way stop at an excessive speed, barely touch the brakes, and then hit the gas, you get to go first.

I don’t care how busy you are. Or rich. Or good-looking. Or that your car is nicer than mine. Mine is paid off. And I don’t mind rolling that hoopty patched up with bailing wire and duct tape. Bite me.

This message brought to you by my frustrating morning commute.

(no, I didn’t get in an accident, but it was close. Thank goodness for that brake job I got last week.)

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  • Lucky

    Thank you! This, and the complete inability of anyone, anywhere to MERGE (how hard is this? One car from the left goes, one car from the right goes. If we are all in a hurry and try to go at the same time, all that happens is MORE traffic) are my biggest driving pet peeves. I can take speeding, rude unannounced lane changes, anything except no idea about the 4-way stop and how to merge.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Oh, the merge. Yes, good call Lucky!

    California has these wacky “suicide” on ramp/off ramps that make me curse every time. People can never play nice at the merge.

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