Why do we have stop signs?

Couldn’t all stop signs (or maybe 95%) be replaced with yield signs? I would think that the amount of gasoline conserved would be staggering.

I just can’t think of any logical or compelling reason that I should have to stop at an intersection if there is no traffic coming.

I hate yield signs. They might save gas, but I think there would be a lot more accidents.

Maybe at first but I think that people would quickly catch on that they’d better look both ways at the intersection if they have the yield sign.

“Yield” requires that every driver approaching the intersection be able to see any and all drivers also approaching, from any of the other directions, without slowing down. Most intersections don’t meet this description.

Also, a 4 way yield doesn’t really help. 4 way stops allow all traffic to flow through an intersection equally.

While you might be observant enough to notice if there is traffic or not… some people need to be stopped because they’re too busy talking on the phone… playing when themselves, reading. or eating to pay any attention.

Here’s a yield story… I was driving home one night; rolling down a long straight hill. Under the hill, on my left is a dirt road, with a yield sign… and some guy decides to turn left, without signaling… right onto my path. I slam on the breaks, swerve to avoid him…and finally stop 20meters in front of him on the opposite lane.

Now… according to the traffic laws, he was required to yield because 1) he was joining a major road 2) he was on the left 3) there was a yield sign 4) he was turning.
I personally would’ve preferred him to STOP and look… it’s not like high beams are that difficult to notice in the dark.

I’ve never heard the “without slowing down” part. Not that I’m doubting you, you may be a traffic engineer for all that I know, but do you have a citation for that? My google fu doesn’t seem to support it either way.

In my hypothetical highway world, a 4 way yield would be treated exactly like a 4 way stop except that if there’s no one coming, you wouldn’t have to stop.

Along the same line, I wonder why more cities (like here in Chicago, for instance), after a certain time in the evening don’t change the traffic signal at al (or most of)the major thoroughfares to blinking yellows, while all the minor cross streets just go to blinking reds? You can still have timed lights at intersections that demand it, but most don’t.

Also, I wish traffic circles were more commonly used in the US.

GH057, from your story, it sounds as if your problem was with an unattentive, lawbreaking driver. If he had followed the law, he would have stopped. I’m not so sure that in your situation that a stop sign would have helped. People run stop signs all of the time too.

[quote=“pulykamell, post:9, topic:548211”]

That’s the solution; works prettty good in the UK . . . once you get used to driving on the wrong side of the road that is. :smiley:

Hey, in Seattle we have a great number of “uncontrolled intersections.” No stop or yield sign for any driver. If you’re used to it, you handle them like a yield sign, but if you’re new to the city, you assume if you don’t have a sign telling you to stop or yield, then the other driver does and you therefore have the right of way. Big mistake.

There are two traffic circles in my neighborhood.

Each of them has a little planter in the middle with a crepe myrtle…in theory.

After replacing the trees over 30 times, the city gave up, and stuck huge reflector signs there instead. And they still have to tow at least one car a day off the damn things.

That’s how they do it in Green Bay, where I grew up. When I first took my wife (who grew up in Chicago) up there, she was boggled. “Why don’t they roll up the sidewalks, while they’re at it?”

They seem to be all the rage with American traffic engineers now, but, IME, too few American drivers know how to handle them yet. I’ve been in any number of close-calls with drivers who cannot figure out how to navigate a traffic circle (particularly those who don’t get the concept of, “YIELD to the traffic coming from your left, you idiot!”)

I don’t have a cite handy, and I doubt there’s going to be an official one that says this. But think about what “yielding” means–it is dependent on whether there is other traffic. If there is no other traffic, there is nothing to yield to; you proceed as if there was no control at all.

If you have to slow down very much just to see whether there is traffic which would have right-of-way, the sign may as well be a Stop.

True… but here’s the thing. People re-interpret roadsigns… 40mph (well, I can do 45… that’s so little over)… Red light (well, I was already nearly in the intersection…) Yield (If I just glance, I should be ok) Stop (well, if I just slow down, it’s good enough)

Basically stop signs end up equaling yield signs’ meaning once people re-interpret them.
So, yes, you’re right, yield ought to be good enough… but it’s not.

I find this hard to believe, unless you mean intersections where one street is clearly subordinate to the other.


Is that even legal there? I can understand the local authorities not giving a crap and not having any signs. But to legally not have something at every intersection just boggles my mind.

What if someone else is coming at the same time, and both decide they can beat the other thru the intersection…or figure the other one will stop, so I don’t have to…

Then the 4 way stop sign rules would apply.