City Rules

For anyone that grew up in the “country” like me, we learned 2 basic rules to apply at any 4-way stop intersection:

  1. Come to a complete stop
  2. If 2 people stop at the same time, the person on the right has priority

Occasionally, a third rule applies, which is if the driver on the right is male, he will forfeit his right to go first and curteously yield to the driver on the left if she is female. Or, if both drivers are male, the driver on the right may choose to wave the other driver to go first if it gives him a chance to prove his graciousness, mercy, superiority, or control of the situation to any passengers in his vehicle.

It dawned on me today that common law rules in the city are quite different, to accommodate the more rushed and impersonal pace of city life:

  1. If you come to a complete stop, you effectively yield your right of way to anyone else approaching the intersection, who most likely will make a “California” stop. Drivers behind you will likely honk to signal you have made an inefficient, actual stop.
  2. If 2 cars “stop” at the same time, the car going straight through the intersection (not turning) has the right of way, no matter if they are in the right position or not.