20 Things to Avoid to be a Conscientious Driver Part 2

DSC00542We return again to our weekly series centered around driving, and developing proper driving habits.  This particular series is as much of a public service announcement as it is a rant.  Each one of these particular behaviors have affected someone at some point, and it is very important that we avoid doing them.  

2. Not handling “uncontrolled” intersections and 3/4/All way stops properly.

There is a simple procedure to handling intersections. Lighted intersections are pretty clear, and have far less frequent issues than that of four way stops and "uncontrolled" intersections. Driving in any part of any town that includes either of these intersections, I am forced to handle my driving differently than what would normally be proper. Four way stops; whomever arrives and stops at the intersection first has the right of way, and so on and so forth. Pretty simple right? It doesn't matter if you're turning or going straight, that order remains the same.

You'll notice I use quotations around uncontrolled when referring to the intersection. I do this because on paper it is, in fact, their technical name. However, it's a misnomer. They are actually a controlled intersection, when it comes to how they are supposed to be handled. You treat them in almost the exact sense as a proper four way stop, the absolute only difference is that you are not required to fully stop if it is your go. That in no way means you can blast through them at the speed limit, or worse, speeding. There is still a time needed to assess the intersection for safe travel, which requires the use of slowing down. Using someone else's proper handling of an "uncontrolled" intersection to blast through the intersection before them is clearly the wrong way to do it.  Doing that can easily paint you as an asshole, and can quickly escalate into a bigger issue.

I will make special mention of what I feel to be the most useless and convoluted intersection types out there, roundabouts.  They are the most idiotic invention in traffic revision history.  Be it, for the most part, because people really have no concept of how they work.  They are complicated in their simplicity, so we tend to over think them.  However, they can be easily defined by looking at their parts individually.  Simply put, the person who reaches the roundabout first, goes first.  Once there is a vehicle in the roundabout, that person has the right of way, no matter where they are going.  We reach, of course, the "what to do" when you arrive at a roundabout, behind someone who just entered the roundabout, and after another driver entering from another direction.  Here is where people get it wrong.  Refer right back to the first step, the person to arrive at the entrance of the roundabout goes first.  It does not matter if they are waiting for the car that just entered before you, and it does not matter that you could enter now, and beat them in.  It is not a free flowing intersection that let's which ever direction has more cars go first, it is not a lighted intersection.  It is to be treated like either a 4 way stop, or "uncontrolled" intersection, and it is one at a time.  So don't go, just because the person in front of you went. You make sure that you were there before any other cars waiting to enter, and wait your turn if you weren't there first.

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