This may be a short blog and, unfortunately, I didn’t grab a picture of the event. I want to take a few moments to talk about stop signs. Yes, those octagonal displays that indicate to drivers to stop your vehicle for safety. Despite what many may believe, they exist for your safety so it is important to follow the rules.
Recently (as if the time frame really matters but when telling a story we all must include some sort of introduction), I was driving through my old neighborhood after visiting my mailbox for work. It was a regular kind of day about 10:00 AM. That means there were no school busses around or many pedestrians around. It was an empty road with only two cars visible; my car and the White Toyota Corolla that was immediately in front of me.
The Corolla appeared to be driving safely. He (I assume it was a man because we all know men are the best drivers) was cruising between 25 and 30 miles per hour which I believe was appropriate for the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. He wasn’t swerving. He wasn’t stalling. It was smooth sailing for us both.
As we approached the four-way stop sign that was in our path the Corolla began to slow down, as is appropriate when preparing to stop. I matched his speed because I too was preparing to stop as is legally required by the presence of a stop sign. Things were all going according to plan. I anticipated an flawless stop followed by a smooth and simple continuation of the journey.
This is when the mundane turned to unusual. The man in the white Corolla clearly saw the stop sign otherwise he wouldn’t have slowed down upon his approach. Yet, the vehicle continued to move forward. The front bumper passed the stop sign and the associated white line painted across the road indicating the stop position. Well, he missed the stopping location a bit. That isn’t a big deal, right? Don’t we all get excited and go a little bit too far from time to time?
The Corolla continued to inch forward. The speed was such that I assume the gentlemen was not applying force to the gas pedal but was simply being pulled forward by the gear of the vehicle. The front tires passed the designated stopping area. Then the front doors. Then the back doors. I thought to myself, “OK, so this guy is doing one of those rolling stops that bad drivers are famous for when there are no other vehicles at the four-way stop.”
The rear tires crossed the threshold. Then the trunk. Then the rear bumper. The Corolla was all the way into the middle of the intersection and I expected this stellar driver to now accelerate and continue on his adventure. As you may have expected, that is not what happened.
It was at this point that the Corolla came to a complete stop. It wasn’t like the driver missed the stop sign. We was clearly slowing down during the process. What was this guy thinking?
As if this display of driving decisions wasn’t odd enough, the driver now decided to look both directions. He looked left. He looked right. There were no cars coming from either direction. If there was, the gentlemen in the Corolla would have been looking each of those drivers right in the face. There was have been no angles. He was blocking the entire intersection.
Then, as if the entire process was perfectly normal, the driver of the Corolla accelerated and continued on his way. I was turning at the stop sign so I didn’t get to observe his driving any further. He could have been following the letter of the law or swerving like a drunk teenager on the night after his high school graduation. I just couldn’t get this stop out of my head. Why would he pull into the intersection? Did he think that was the right procedures? I just don’t understand.