I don't know about you, but I hate when unnecessary stop signs get added to roads. For instance, I'm still not over the fact that a stop sign was added on Fulton Street in Poughkeepsie heading down towards Marist several years ago. I think it is in an awkward place and disrupts the flow of traffic in an unnatural way.

Why Add Stop Signs Where They Are Not Needed?

 

Not just that, but when it's raining or it is icy in the winter, the stop sign is in a horrible position on the hill. If conditions are bad, people are prone to skid right through it. I've seen many cars unable to stop at that sign due to inclement weather, myself included.

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But what gets me even more than a single random stop sign showing up someplace it shouldn't is when four-way stops replace traffic lights. Again, keeping it around Poughkeepsie and the Marist community, they changed the traffic light at the intersection of East Cedar and Fairview (right by Fairview Park) into a four-way stop. The picture below is from 5 years ago, when it still functioned as a regular light. Now, there are stop signs, and the light is only there to blink red.

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Now, another traffic light in Poughkeepsie is turning into another four-way stop. I'm talking about the intersection of Fulton and Inwood, pretty much smack dab between Marist College and Dutchess Community College. I've lived around here my whole life, and the light was fine! To be honest, very few people obeyed that, so what makes them think people will obey a four-way stop!

Conor Walsh
Conor Walsh
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Proper Etiquette at a Four-Way Stop

Why change a traffic light to a four-way stop in the first place? According to Janicek Law, there are experts who claim that traffic signals actually increase the danger at intersections and that four-way stops should be used when possible. The reason is that stop signs decrease the speed at the intersection.

Conor Walsh
Conor Walsh
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That is, in theory of course. From what I've witnessed while at four-way stops is that no one knows the right of way. Four cars coming from four different directions will sit there and look at each other, trying to figure out who should go. More often than not, multiple cars will pull out at the same time and nearly hit each other. That, and I'll find that people blow through stop signs more than they blow through lights.

According to the Top Driver Driving School, when multiple vehicles reach a 4-way stop at the same time, there are 3 rules of the road you must follow to understand who should go through the intersection first:

  1. Always yield to the right When two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time side-by-side, the vehicle furthest to the right has the right of way. If three vehicles arrive at the same time, the car furthest left should continue to yield until both of the other cars to the right of them have passed.
  2. Straight traffic takes the right of way over turning traffic When arriving at an intersection head-to-head with another vehicle, it is important to use signals.  When two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, and they are located head-to-head and one of the vehicles intends to turn and the other intends to go straight, the vehicle going straight has right of way. Keep in mind that if both vehicles are going straight or turning in the same direction, they can both proceed at the same time as they will not cross each other’s path.
  3. Right turns take the right of way over left turnsWhen two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, and they are located head-to-head and one of the vehicles intends to turn right and the other intends to turn left, the vehicle turning right has right of way. Move forward slowly before entering the intersection to indicate to other drivers you are making the turn. The driver turning left should wait until the other car has fully passed.

True or False: Four-Way Stops Are Safer Than Traffic Lights

To be honest, they both can suck! But they can also be great, you just have to know where you are installing them. There is a time and a place for both kinds of traffic control. There are pros and cons to having signals and signs. Groveport.org goes into more detail on the myths versus reality, but I got the gist of why both can be a terrible idea, at times.

In regard to signals, unwarranted signals, or signals that operate improperly, can create situations where overall intersection congestion is increased, which in turn can create aggressive driving behavior. When more complex signal phasing causes longer waiting times at intersections, both drivers and pedestrians tend to become impatient and violate red lights, or drivers are tempted to cut through neighborhood streets.

At the same time, four-way stop signs do not necessarily improve pedestrian or vehicle safety. In fact, pedestrians in stop sign-congested neighborhoods often have a false sense of security about crossing local streets with four-way stop signs. The application of traffic control devices, to the casual observer, often creates this sense of security, but in reality may actually increase safety risk. If control devices are improperly applied, they can create confusion between the pedestrians and the driver as to who has the right-of-way, thereby increasing the risk that one of the two will make an improper decision resulting in serious consequences.

New York State's 5 Most Dangerous Roads [RANKED]

With plenty of big cities and numerous busy highways, it should come as no surprise New York state is unfortunately home to some of the most dangerous roads in the nation. While you would expect New York City to be the home of such roadways (2 on this list), the danger is not limited to the Big Apple. According to Catalano Law, 3 New York State's 5 most dangerous roads live mostly Upstate and should be navigated with the most extreme caution. Here are the 5 most dangerous in the Empire State.

Gallery Credit: Matty Jeff

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