No Way Four-Way Highway

I come before you to plead my case for elimination of four-way stop intersections. This has been a silent crusade of mine for a while now. Many are unable to process the requirements of successfully navigating the Mother Of All Driving Dilemmas…four-way stop intersections.

All my wife and I were trying to do was get home with our takeout Chinese food. We were not in a particular rush as the local establishment manages to pack out orders at temperatures equivalent to the surface of the sun…which is fine because we like the food hot…and it does re-enter the atmosphere of safe eating by the time we get home.

Yet, there are multiple four-way stop intersections without lights in our path. Why this is I don’t know. Some degreed sadist in charge of “urban planning” perhaps.

On the way home as we were navigating these four-way stops, I commented to my wife how many people seem incapable of knowing who is next to go based on common sense and decency…not to mention who gets to the intersection first.

As I approached the final four-way stop before getting home, I encountered only one other car. Sweet. We and our flaming food would conquer this last hurdle and get home without incident.

While I clearly was the first car to arrive at my stop sign, the driver of the other vehicle pulled up a bit before theirs, but then began to roll into the intersection.

It was MY turn.

Instant replay would have confirmed it. I was first to my stop sign.

It was MY turn.

I rolled out into the intersection as well. I mean, if you don’t at least try to train these people what hope do we all have?

The other car made a full stop at this point. Success. I felt they had learned their lesson and proceeded forward once more…but alas, they did also. It was like they were toying with me.

Both cars were now parked pretty much in the middle of the intersection.

History will show the first obscene gesture was made by the driver of the other car. I point that out with pride, because what I did thereafter will not go down as one of my finest moments…at least that’s what my wife told me afterwards.

I returned the obscene hand gesture with one of my own. I then locked eyes with my new-found enemy – a woman with a cell phone attached to her face – and rattled off a stream of obscenities clearly audible outside our car regardless of the windows being up. Regardless of the decibel count, the other driver would not have to be a lip reader to get the context.

I then sped off, clearing the intersection first. Flush with adrenaline and filled with the sense of victory…I then heard the honk of a horn in the distance. I guess it was her way of trying to win the war even if the battle was lost. I should have taken the high road on all this at this point…but I couldn’t.

I honked back.

A lot.

Discussion while enjoying the cooled-down Chinese food was how I needed to be cool. Take it in stride. Don’t get upset. I’m not a road rage fellow at all. I yield. I take pride in not putting pedestrians on my hood. I’m a damn good guy behind the wheel.

Yet, I have come to the conclusion we need to see the light and install lights at each and every one of these four-way stops.

Then…maybe I’ll start to lighten up.


Picture Courtesy iStock

34 thoughts on “No Way Four-Way Highway”

  1. Here in Tampa they are replacing many, if not most, 4 ways stops with traffic circles. Was not a fan at first, but they have cut way down on the accident rate, reduced the wait time, and made for a much better flow of traffic.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. When we visited Sedona Arizona a few years ago, an entire route had them at every intersection. As you say, it took a little getting used to but after a two week stay? We kind of missed them..

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry, but I’m laughing. Oh. Dear. (Although I’m guessing your wife didn’t call you “dear” during the confrontation.) We must learn to manage our traffic anger. Something about getting behind the wheel of a car brings out our ‘neanderthal-ness.’ Sorry, but tis true. In NE, everyone thinks they should express their anger/displeasure with other drivers by using the horn. Many times. Long and loud. (eye roll) This I guess is better than obscenities? Yes, traffic circles are the answer, and in our Boston area, 4-way stops have been replaced by the (as the English call them) “roundabouts.” Hope your blood pressure is normalized and the Chinese food was delicious. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. BP is stable. Chinese food was delicious. My wife has had no need to disconnect the horns on our vehicles because that really was not my nature to hit the horn like that. In fact, she doesn’t think I use it often enough. A round of roundabouts is worth a try. 🙂


    1. Lois, I will say there was a learning curve for me the first few times I came upon a roundabout. I was young and didn’t have a ton of driving experience, but it still requires some skill. You may be right…ultimately in order to keep folks from having higher-speed collisions stop signs may be our best hope.


      1. There’s a few roundabouts in my area. Just the one lane sort. Some people stop when there’s nobody in it, others drive right in without even looking to see if there’s already a car there. I can’t remember where it was, but I saw a two lane one somewhere once and people in the inside lane just seemed stuck there going round and round in circles unable to merge with the traffic in the outer lane to get out.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You seem to be lacking in ‘traffic circles’. We call them ’roundabouts’ in the UK. They solve the issue nicely, and the only rule is to ‘give way yo the right’. We drive on the left here of course, the ‘correct’ side. 🙂
    Many thanks for following my blog. Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That sounds like a drive on the wildside to me. Flipping a driver off or screaming obscenities can get you shot in Texas…and has! That must have been some awesome Chinese take out! I hope your campaign to get lights put in pays off! Mona

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think I’m gonna have Chinese again tomorrow. Of course, that means navigating the four-way minefield once more. My “road rage” has only been displayed a couple of times over many years of driving, and having lived in PA most all of that time, that’s quite an impressive record if I say so myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ana, I had the “pleasure” of driving across them again today, and you know you might be onto something. In the midst of all the driving chaos, there was a couple of folks trying to walk across them as well. 🙂


  7. If there’s any question as to whose turn it is, I just wave for the other person to go first. If that doesn’t work, I honk. If that doesn’t work, I abandon all hope and proceed through the intersection. There have been occasions where I waved, the other person waved, then I waved, and then the other person waved… What’s the opposite of road rage, road altruism? In this case, road altruism gone mad…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Driving has become such an extreme endeavor not meant for the faint of heart. With all measure of overly aggressive behavior and with so many feeling overly entitled, I try to take the high road simple for my own safety. You just never know when someone will pull out a gun any more. So sad really but is now the current reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi there. WP has barred me from “liking” random blogs, yours included. I’m not finding any rhyme or reason.
    At any rate, I “liked” your “about,” and now I’m liking this, lol. I can relate to the idiocy on the road…far more than I’d like to. The other day I was turning right, and when I started to go, I was startled to see that the car behind me had pulled up beside me and was now about to turn right, too, into me. She looked startled as our eyes met, but SHE KEPT GOING ANYWAY. I had to fight the immediate urge to chase her down and rear-end her. The rage is immediate. I hate driving, and I hate LA, lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stacey, thanks for fighting through the WordPress gatekeepers! Ironic, because there is a website I am trying to leave likes and comments on today which isn’t letting me do so either. That double-turn situation sounds like one where I would have been tempted to do the same as you thought about. I visited LA once many years ago, and your traffic is the stuff of legend…a total, complete hot mess.


  10. Great write!

    If only all drivers were as good as they believe themselves to be! In poll after poll, those polled are ALL “above average” drivers. I guess those pollsters avoid polling the “below average” drivers. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I retired from Risk Management and we used to show this video during our ‘Decision Driving’ course. Of course, you could have helped, too, given the ‘history’ and all…😆

    Liked by 1 person

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