I’ve got to get to the four-way intersection before any other car. It may cause alarm for my passengers and perhaps panic in other drivers, but arriving at the stop sign before anyone else, counts as a win in the high-speed world of Stop Sign Racing.
It’s like finding the choice parking spot or getting a green arrow in the turn lane. Arriving to the stop sign first allows you to proceed ahead of any other driver in the intersection. And that my friend, is the ‘thrill of victory!’
It’s a $2 scratch-off lottery prize in the daily grind of the commute.
An obsession – nah. It’s a challenge that presents itself along life’s journey and I try to rise to the occasion.
Now everybody knows (or should know) that if two cars arrive at the four-way stop at the same time, the car to the right goes first. But if the cars are approaching from complete opposite directions and arrive at the same time, then I don’t know the rule, so what’s a driver to do?
I suppose I could just glide to the stop sign at the same time as the other driver and figure it out when we get there. Or, better yet, why not just kindly waive the person who arrived SECOND to go ahead of me, thus showing how magnanimous I can be.
Well that’s all fine and dandy if you’re not ‘In It To Win It’!
My goal is to never arrive at the same time as the other driver, therefore, there is no need for debate or rule recollection.
Now I ‘m not saying I’m always racing to the stop sign. In fact, I have given the victory lap to the loser, allowing them to proceed ahead of me. But more often than not, if I arrive first, I’m going first!
I did develop one other tactic in my stop sign racing repertoire. It’s the ‘stop short’ technique. Now, this is not the Seinfeld – Stop Short episode. You know the one where Kramer is driving Mrs. Costanza back from the hospital, stops short and reaches over and puts his hands on her to stop her from lurching forward? She of course, thinks Kramer is hitting on her. (good episode!) That may be a novel approach to making inroads in your relationships, however, my ‘stop short’ play is far more sinister.
This technique involves stopping short of the stop sign when another driver is approaching at the same time. While you may not be quite to the intersection, you still technically maintain your status as the first one to stop at the stop sign. Thus, winning the race.
Genius. I know.
It’s like moving the finish line BACK ten yards toward you so you can finish first while you’re still in the lead.
I’m not talking about five car lengths short, like you were trying to miss a sprinting Labrador. I’m talking about a half a car length short, that completely surprises your opponent, leaving him reeling and wondering how you beat him to the stop. (The other driver approaching the intersection is your opponent, make no doubt about that! I don’t care if he’s 18 and driving a Camaro or if she’s 80 years old and can barely see over the steering wheel; if they’re approaching the four-way, it’s on!)
It is possible, though I’ve rarely witnessed it, that you could actually have three opponents as you approach the intersection. On those rare instances, you’ve got to keep the adrenalin in check, and not blow through the intersection; a Stop Sign Racing faux pas, indeed! (DO NOT attempt to go in reverse to re-set at the stop sign. You’ve lost. Don’t add insult to injury, just keep moving.)
You’ve got to win the ‘four-on-four-at-the-four-way’ contest. The problem is that the rule of ‘he on the right goes first’ will not apply with four cars at the intersection. With four cars at the four-way, all cars are occupying a spot to the right of the other. A clear winner keeps traffic moving, leaving the others to apply the rules.
So next time you’re out and you’re approaching the four-way – employ one of these two techniques to secure the victory:
1. Accelerate to the intersection as you see your opponent approaching the intersection ahead of you. Quickly stomp the brakes and skid to the finish line, thus arriving first.
2. With your opponent arriving at what seems to be the same time as you, quickly apply the brakes well short (1/2 car length) of the intersection, thus, stopping short and surprising your opponent with this stealthy move.
Either tactic earns you right to proceed (PARADE!) through the intersection, proving to all that you were FIRST to arrive at the stop sign! You’ve knocked 3 seconds off your drive time, secured a victory and you haven’t even left your neighborhood yet.
It’s gonna be a great day!