When you approach a four-way stop, if there are no other cars already waiting, it seems like a very simple maneuver. You pull up to the sign, stop, look both ways and then continue through the intersection. Some drivers barely even take the time to look both ways, assuming that the path should be clear because any other vehicles would theoretically be stopped at the opposing stop signs.
But this is where drivers are taking things a bit too far. It is still very important to consider cross traffic and not to proceed into the intersection until you know that it’s safe. A four-way stop should theoretically protect you from being hit, but trusting it means trusting all the other drivers on the road to see the stop sign, react properly, make the right judgment call and come to a stop in time. If they fail in any one of these areas, they’re going to cause an accident.
How often does this happen?
To see just how dangerous intersections are, consider the fact that there are roughly 10,000 fatalities every year in accidents at intersections. And that doesn’t even count the tens of thousands of serious injuries that take place, as well.
The best way to stay safe is to focus on being a defensive driver. This means looking for the mistakes that other drivers are going to make and adjusting your own driving style to match. In the case of an intersection, you simply want to double-check to make sure that no one is about to run the stop sign before you drive through. That extra second can save your life.
Of course, just being a defensive driver doesn’t guarantee you won’t be injured when someone else makes a mistake. If you are, you need to know about your rights to financial compensation.