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A Four-Way-Stop Ain’t a “Stop and Go,” Buddy!

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

by Sierra King

Most high school students are beginning to drive, that means young, pubescent adolescent drivers out on the road. Which also means reckless, horn-honking, short stopping, tailgating teenagers around the school with a higher chance of near-accidents or (knock on wood), actual accidents that could’ve been preventable. Yes, this is insinuating that all new drivers are bad (which you have to agree, most new drivers are). But it’s also important to acknowledge that there are cautious new drivers out on the road too. Thank you to that 4% who actually follow their driver’s ed instructors lessons! If we can take the second thought to be a better driver, we can easily prevent those anxiety-bubbling, heat-rising road rage moments.

After years of playing on the tennis team, I’ve had my fair share of carpools, and have seen how other students drive when friends are in the car: music blaring, friends laughing, speed increasing. Studies have shown that when you are in the car with other people, you’re more likely to run that yellow light and take more risks on the road. So, how to be a better driver?

- FULL stops man! Most accidents are caused by a quick tap on the breaks at a four-way-stop intersection. Wait your turn, actually-- know when it’s your turn to go, and when it’s clear, proceed.

- The biggest one of all, don’t go on your phone to change the music. You can wait the 2 minutes for Bruno Mars to be over, and then you can change it to Lil Nas X.

- Go the speed limit. Whether you’re rushing to school, late to practice, or hustling to meet your friends in time, I’m positive whoever is waiting would prefer you in one piece and a little late, than totaled in an accident and never show up.

- LOOK for pedestrians. There’s nothing worse than barely stopping at a stop sign just to look right and see someone with their cute dog awkwardly starting to cross, only to come to a halt because you sped through that stop sign.

- Don’t eat and drive, just don’t. Don’t make a mess in your car that you know your mom will get mad at you for. Even taking one hand off the wheel to grab a bite out of that In-n-Out burger is one less hand you have control over your car.

Being calm, controlled, and stoic while driving, even though that BMW just cut you off on the freeway, shows a lot of self discipline that not many new drivers have. Everybody’s got to get from place A to place B and there are tons of other things people have got going on, so don’t get it in your head that you’re the only driver on the road who matters. Be considerate. Let that person in your lane, even though it’s 6 o’clock traffic. Let that pedestrian cross, even though they insist on letting you go first. Give that cyclist some room on the street so he/she doesn’t think they’ll get run over. Be a considerate driver because you would want the same reciprocated to you.

Some rules EVERY driver should know that (to my surprise) some do not:

- Left lane on the freeway = Fast lane. Don’t drive 65 mph in that lane if you’re not going to pass the other cars

- If you’re unsure whose turn it is to go on a four-way stop, the person to the right of you has the right of way.

- Don’t just look in your side mirrors when changing lanes. Look in your rear view to see traffic coming up behind you.

- When merging into one lane, follow the path other people are taking. One car merges in front from the left, then another car merges in from the right, and so on. Don’t go two cars at a time!

- Lastly, stop behind the white line at a stop light. Pedestrians can’t go when half of your Honda HRV is in the crosswalk!




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