Correct me if I'm wrong please, but this sign means stop, right? I mean, everyone who approaches it on wheels is supposed to stop, yes? At least hesitate for a moment if nothing else. Slow down maybe?
I only ask because there seems to be a distinct lack of consensus on the actual meaning of the word. Or perhaps there is a line of fine print below the word, STOP, which I cannot see that maybe says, "Optional" or "Except you in the white Mercedes" and "Not you, guy with New Jersey plates". It's frustrating.
I have lived in a lot of places. I learned to drive in the Ft Worth/Dallas metropolitan area. Terrifying. I lived in New England where there are notoriously scary roads and bad drivers. I lived in California where the smog alone foretells the tale of too many drivers and road rage is a national crisis. I've lived in the mid-West where there are far too many drivers of cars who are more accustomed to driving tractors and it shows. But never ever have I lived in a place where defensive driving is such a good idea as here in Florida.
The road we live on is a long one, relatively speaking. I mean, it's an island, how long can any road be here? But proportionately, yes, this is a long road. This summer, the town installed four stop signs in each direction on our road, spaced well apart. The idea was to slow down the crazies who think this road is more of a racetrack. Or perhaps they like the challenge of flying down a narrow, curvy road with bonus points for missing pedestrians and bicyclers on a road that has no shoulder at all. The stop signs were a great idea. And sometimes it even works.
But lately I have seen far too many people blithely cruise down the street without even a wink of acknowledgement to the stop signs. Infuriating.
Just came from the grocery store where I saw not one, not two but three people drive without even pausing through 3 different stop signs and one red light. Thank goodness I have good reflexes and, at this point, it has sadly become an expectation.
It's not just on the island. Everytime we drive up to Sarasota there is at least one person who cannot seem to drive the same speed as everyone else and has to weave in and out of traffic like a sewing machine that is wildly out of control. It's dangerous. It's scary. And there are, of course, the resultant accidents. Is it any wonder that I do not like to drive?
And then there are the bicyclers who either never learned or have forgotten that the rules of the road apply to you too, my friend. Signal before turning please! Stop at the stop signs, I'm begging you. And for goodness sakes, look before pulling out into the road. In a car/bicycle tangle, the car almost always wins.
Well, that's my rant for the day. My pounding heart seems to have resumed a normal rhythm now and the shaking in my knees has stopped. The grocery store in less than 5 miles away. I shouldn't have to approach each driving trip with fear of some idiot doing something incredibly stupid that has the potential to be damaging or even deadly every single time.
On the other hand, it certainly keeps my mind and my reflexes sharp.
Be safe out there, please!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.