In the City of Bartow, we have an abundance of Stop signs and four-way stop intersections. This week’s topic may appear simple enough, but recently we have received complaints about the stop signs and vehicle operators not coming to a complete stop.
Impeding the flow of traffic is often times a hindrance, but in reality, Stop signs can be looked at as ‘calming devices.’ That is to say that they are strategically placed to lower the speeds of vehicles in given areas in an effort to lessen the chances of vehicle crashes and injuries. They are also purposefully located where the operator’s vision is partially or totally obscured from oncoming traffic. That makes a stop sign vital to our travel safety.
Regardless of the usage of a particular stop sign, there are statutory guidelines that we as motorists are required to follow. First, you must come to a complete stop, otherwise the sign is useless. Second, stop at the stop bar if one is provided, or the closet point to the intersecting road without actually entering the roadway. If you are at a four-way stop, the first vehicle to the stop sign has the right-of-way. If two or more vehicles get to the four-way stop intersection at the same time, the “ … vehicle to the left must yield to the vehicle on the right.”
Living in the city with such small roads and the continuous flow of vehicular traffic, it is important to have these measures in place. Obey the stop signs, come to a complete stop, and make sure that your travel path is completely clear when you decide to proceed forward. It is also important to use your turn signals appropriately. All of these safe driving tips will effectively move traffic, and make travel safe for all of us.
Joe Hall is the chief of the Bartow Police Department.