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Stop Signs

2004-10-11

Category: politics

I figured out something important. No really, I did. It's about the trouble with stop signs and the other drivers I encounter at them. Here's how it goes.

We all know what the rules are supposed to be.

  1. If you have a stop sign and the other guy doesn't, then the other guy gets to go and you have to wait for him.
  2. If both of you have a stop sign then both stop and the one who stopped first gets to go first.
  3. If both of you have a stop sign and you stop at the same time, the one on the right gets to go first.

These seem simple enough; I couldn't understand why so many drivers I encounter have trouble with them. That made me nervous and curious. I began watching and finally found out what's wrong.

When you come to a stop at a stop sign, you stop with the nose of your vehicle behind the white line. If there is no white line then you stop with the nose of your vehicle behind the line the stop sign would make perpendicular with the street you're on. When I watched other drivers I realized that they never come to a full stop.

That's it. That's the secret. They don't know who goes first because that's based on who stops first. Since so few of them actually come to a stop, they can't figure out what to do. It all boils down to drivers not wanting to wait their turn like grown-ups. I know how to fix that.

Here's the solution. First, each stop sign area gets fitted with motion detectors that measure not only the movement but also the size. This way, it can keep track of the motion of cars versus pedestrians (who shouldn't be walking on the street anyway). This system will keep track of whether or not a car came to a complete stop. It will also communicate with the other stop signs to determine right of way. In the street, where the white line currently is painted, we need to install a six-inch thick steel plate that that can be launched into the path of a moving vehicle. When fully extended, the plate would form a sturdy wall that would keep most any vehicle from passing through the intersection in an operable condition.

The combination of the motion detectors and the retractable steel plates would assure that drivers brought their cars to a complete stop and would not go until they had right of way.

What about those drivers who can't figure out that everyone's waiting for him or her to go? We'll have to place little, flashing light on the stop sign pole to let drivers know that they can go. I prefer a slightly more aggressive procedure involving launching the vehicle into a crushing mechanism, but I understand that come of my viewpoints lean toward extreme.

It'll be a while before we can implement these procedures. It'll also cost a lot of money. Right now we are spending all our cash on anti-terrorist stuff. I still think I'm in more danger from bad drivers, but I don't get to set national priorities. Until that day when we can put in my new stop sign mechanisms we will have to keep using the current "Honk and Bird" method of dealing with the bad drivers.


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