The Scoop on Skillful Driving – Part 3: Stop Signs and How to Proceed after Stopping Properly

You stopped at a stop sign. You are now waiting for a safe opening in the traffic to proceed. So when IS it safe to proceed?

The general rule is that if you could safely and comfortably walk across the street in front of an approaching vehicle, then it is safe to drive across in front of that vehicle. Yes, you can drive faster than you can walk, but think of how long a car is and how much of it has to clear the lane compared to a person.

Keep in mind, the recommended speed of a turn is in the range of 10 mph. This means that you will turn and then build up more speed. What if someone has to brake to let you in? Then you should not have turned in the first place! If the other car has to brake, that means YOU caused a problem. If you are relying on them to brake in time and they don’t, you have caused an accident!

Keep in mind that if you try to “beat out” an approaching vehicle when the smarter move would have been to wait, there is an increased risk of accident. If you are so intent on rushing to make it in front of a particular vehicle, you probably will not be aware of other potential issues, such as pedestrians, bicyclers, or other vehicles…

One more interesting fact: Everyone has a blind spot in both eyes. (Ask your doctor; he or she will verify this fact.) Although you may be sure you are seeing a full panoramic picture, the truth is that each eye has a small, but significant blind spot. In driving, this means that at certain angles you simply cannot see a car unless you look twice! Good advice? Never rush through an intersection and ALWAYS look twice.

TIP: Always remember to consider the distance of vehicles as well as their rate of speed in approaching when you are deciding whether to turn in front of that vehicle. Slow down! Take your time…. Always be cautious when driving.

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  1. I would like to add — stop at STOP sign first. Then proceed closer to the end of road (not into the road). So many cars are stopping in the intersection with the front of the car sticking into roadway. This seems to be an issue mostly in Lakewood.

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