One of the conclusions I have drawn from these observations is that it's good policy to avoid being on the road on New Year's Eve or early New Year's Day. Fatalities are up on those days and the risk is not worth the reward at this stage of my life. And in that same vein, here's something surprising: traffic fatalities are also higher--on average--on tax day.
Over all, nearly 6,800 people — drivers, passengers and pedestrians — were killed in car crashes on tax day during the study period. Compared with other days, there was an increase of roughly 6 percent in fatal crashes on tax day, equivalent to an additional 13 deaths.The research shows this is likely due to added stress caused by the filing deadline, as opposed to more intoxicated drivers on New Years. Still, it's a stat worth filing away in memory, so as to remember on the next tax day. Nothing wrong with a little added caution, after all.
First, the rules of an intersection with four way stop signs:
- Everyone must come to a complete stop at the stop bar (in line with the sign). No exceptions.
- Whomever arrives and stops first has the right of way.
- In the event of cars arriving simultaneously, the driver on the right goes first.
- If two cars arrive simultaneously across from each other, both can go unless one is turning left. Then, the other has the right of way.
- If four cars arrive simultaneously, all going straight, all bets are off.
So what do we have, what are some of the character types we might extrapolate from actions at such an intersection?
- "I'm more important than everyone else"--they ignore rules 3 and 4 completely; as soon as they stop (if they even stop completely), they go.
- "I'll fudge my way to the front of the line"--they stop quickly, but well behind the bar, when it looks like there may be a simultaneous arrival, so as to make it seem as if they clearly arrived first.
- "Rules don't apply to me"--forget rules 3 and 4, these drivers can't even be bothered with 1 and 2; they don't come close to a full stop, but merely roll through the intersection as if they had a yield sign and everyone else had a stop sign.
- "I'm not sure if it's my turn, so I'll go unless someone honks at me or starts going first"--they kinda want to do the right thing, but are willing to ignore a rule they're unsure about.
- "I'm not sure if it's my turn, so I'll wait it out"--cautious to a fault, these are actually the people that make others mad--which is probably unfair--since they don't go on their turn, causing other drivers to jump and drivers behind them to wait.
- "I know exactly when it's my turn, and that is when I will go"--self explanatory.
- "I'll go when I'm ready; right now, I'm texting someone"--a new breed; they may actually fit into one of the above groups, but set other personal needs ahead of driving etiquette.
Numbers 4, 5, and 6--in contrast--recognize there is a community and that, as members of it, they shoulder some responsibility for holding it together, via following rules. Of course--at times--they can forget this, especially when they are in a hurry, frustrated, upset, or the like. And that's the nature of life, really. Everyone has their bad moments, but we can get past them as a community.
Number 7? As I said, a new breed in some ways; they can be any of the other, but their attachment to their own desires impacts their behavior. And again, it's not all that unusual. Selfish people can still recognize their communal responsibilities, even if they're willing to ignore them.
So, which one are you? And what's your attitude about your place in your local community? Do I have it right?