Sunday November 23, 2014

Do you favour uncontrolled intersections?


He said

Some of us, myself included, have no experience with the dreaded thing lurking invisibly at several intersections in Estevan. These uncontrolled intersections with no signage are completely dangerous and unnecessary.

I’ve never lived in a community that has these unmarked intersections, so the first time, and all subsequent times, I’ve driven through them in Estevan, I was incredibly shocked. I remember driving up to an intersection and continuing through because there was no stop sign. I thought all was well until as I was passing through, I noticed there was no sign for the streets running perpendicular to mine. I just brushed it off, thinking I must have just not seen the signs that in fact must have been there.

Then I drove through it again, probably a few days later, and as I drove through with the expectation that I would confirm the erection of a stop sign, I again saw absolutely nothing where a sign on any other reasonable street corner would have been.

Even after the second time sailing through unimpeded, I still thought I was just missing the skinny sign. Surely there couldn’t be an intersection that just allowed everyone to drive through without any regulation. I’ve been through the intersection several times now, and a number of others at places all over Estevan. I still don’t get how these exist.

I’ve been to places that don’t have stop signs or any other signs. Everyone stops because everyone knows to stop at all intersections. It works for them because there is no guesswork; motorists simply stop at all of them. The uncontrolled intersections around here are a crapshoot. It’s impossible to tell which intersection you are approaching is a two-way stop for the other street allowing you to safely proceed through, and which intersection has no signs and will just quietly smile to itself when you T-bone another car.

I’ve heard defenders of them say they are supposed to be treated like a four-way stop. There’s nothing stopping anybody from putting up four stop signs on these corners so everyone knows that inside joke. The only appropriate, uncontrolled four-way intersection is a roundabout.

These other uncontrolled corners are dangerous, senseless and have no business being on our roadways.

She said

I’m a fan of uncontrolled intersections, in fact, so long as they’re put in the right places.

I don’t see anything wrong with them, especially in smaller communities. There isn’t enough traffic to really need every single person to stop at an intersection. We’re all reasonable human beings who are capable of yielding to the person on the right. We see other vehicles; we don’t want to harm ourselves or others. It’s the same as yielding to pedestrians or behaving accordingly at any other intersection.

That stop sign can’t physically stop your car from moving at an intersection (unless you hit it), but you stop because you know it’s the right thing to do, and you don’t want a ticket.

There’s the whole rush of knowing you have the power to drive straight through an intersection after paying only the necessary attention. If you can see there are no vehicles approaching, even if you’re half a block away, you can drive on through.

Of course, busy areas have no business having uncontrolled intersections. Downtown Regina at 5 p.m. needs every traffic light it can get.

But in small towns or small cities, the traffic isn’t that busy. I can’t remember ever seeing an intersection without some sort of signage in Regina. Maybe people in smaller centres are just smart enough to get around without needing stop and yield signs at every turn?



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