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The mystery of the four-way stop

Heymatt:

Clockwise, beginning with the car furthest to the right of all others, one at a time. What is so difficult about that? Apparently, roughly half of the drivers in San Diego (according to my informal, one-person survey) don't understand four-way-stop choreography. Maybe you can enlighten them.

-- LP, Hillcrest

Bzzzzzzzzzz! Awww, so sorry, LP. But we have a lovely parting gift and the full truth, if that's any consolation. And by the way, we do agree that the four-way stop is the instrument of the devil. Unfortunately Section 21800c of the state vehicle code assumes we arrive at these ugly vortexes just two cars at a time. Obviously no legislators have driven in Hillcrest lately. Anyway, here's all the state has to say about the situation. "When two vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at the same time and the intersection is controlled from all directions by stop signs, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on his or her immediate right." (N.B.: This doesn't apply at T-intersections.) Operative words here, "at the same time." In fact, the vehicle that arrives first at the stop line should be granted the right of way by all other stoppers. After that the right-of-way goes counterclockwise around the intersection.

Apparently this works in theory and in Sacramento. Realistically, there are enough holes in the law to garage a monster truck. First of all, the monster truck wouldn't bother to stop for the sign, no matter when he arrived at the intersection, throwing all rules out the window. And even if everyone agreed that all four cars arrived at their respective stop lines at exactly the same moment, legally that would mean each driver would yield to the driver on the right, round and round in endless circles. Until somebody caught in the traffic buildup behind them broke the stalemate in some rude and painful way.

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Heymatt:

Clockwise, beginning with the car furthest to the right of all others, one at a time. What is so difficult about that? Apparently, roughly half of the drivers in San Diego (according to my informal, one-person survey) don't understand four-way-stop choreography. Maybe you can enlighten them.

-- LP, Hillcrest

Bzzzzzzzzzz! Awww, so sorry, LP. But we have a lovely parting gift and the full truth, if that's any consolation. And by the way, we do agree that the four-way stop is the instrument of the devil. Unfortunately Section 21800c of the state vehicle code assumes we arrive at these ugly vortexes just two cars at a time. Obviously no legislators have driven in Hillcrest lately. Anyway, here's all the state has to say about the situation. "When two vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at the same time and the intersection is controlled from all directions by stop signs, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on his or her immediate right." (N.B.: This doesn't apply at T-intersections.) Operative words here, "at the same time." In fact, the vehicle that arrives first at the stop line should be granted the right of way by all other stoppers. After that the right-of-way goes counterclockwise around the intersection.

Apparently this works in theory and in Sacramento. Realistically, there are enough holes in the law to garage a monster truck. First of all, the monster truck wouldn't bother to stop for the sign, no matter when he arrived at the intersection, throwing all rules out the window. And even if everyone agreed that all four cars arrived at their respective stop lines at exactly the same moment, legally that would mean each driver would yield to the driver on the right, round and round in endless circles. Until somebody caught in the traffic buildup behind them broke the stalemate in some rude and painful way.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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