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Take time to look around properly at stop signs - Saturday, June 7, 2003

RE.: 'Full stops often don't make sense' (May 31, 2003)
Toronto Star, Wheels, Your Opinion
Saturday, June 7, 2003

As a driver trainer, and as a broadcaster who preaches safety at all times, I must remind people they are inviting disaster if they believe that a full stop at a stop sign is useless. It has nothing to do with being brain dead and staring into empty space. There might really be something there that the driver behind the first car cannot see.

Traffic engineers take a lot of measures to make sure that any location of a stop sign is warranted.

From a driver trainer's standpoint, I have found that most people cannot see the most obvious danger around them because they do not take time to observe. A rolling stop is the sign of a person who is not only not looking, but who is in a hurry.

A four-second stop is the proper length of time to observe at a stop sign. Look left, center, right, and return to the left again. You need to look back again, because while you are scanning toward the right, things may change on the left. The observation must be done while the vehicle is not in motion.

The problem is, if your vehicle is in motion, whatever you are looking at is moving in relationship to you. The background is moving along with any possible moving objects such as vehicles, children, bicycles or anything else. When the background is in motion, a moving object is not recognized for what it is.

If you are standing still, the background is motionless, thus any movement may be observed far more easily.

Relax - do not be in a hurry. Rushing will not get you to your destination any sooner. Use common sense, relax, take your time to observe and live longer!

Dez Miklòs jr., Hamilton

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