Skip to content

a new shape: the octagon

February 5, 2009

from the Florida Driver’s Handbook, 2008:

Stop Signs are always octagonal (8 sided). A stop sign means that you must bring your vehicle to a complete halt at the marked stop line. If there is no marked stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there is no crosswalk, stop at a point nearest the intersecting roadway where you have a clear view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection.

Now, I get it. You might not run into an octagon on a regular basis. You see this new shape and you’re totally blown away! What do you do? You go into overdrive! You freak out! You step on the gas!

Totally understandable. So I thought I’d just copy and paste this small paragraph from the driver’s handbook, just so we’re all clear that when you come to a stop sign–that would be the octagon-shaped sign you see so much at street crossings here in our lovely town–you are to bring your vehicle (that’s your car) to a complete stop. Now, when I was learning to drive, someone explained to me that meant I was to feel the car’s motion actually go back and rest.

Only then are you to enter the intersection.

I mention this because I find it interesting that, though I am an early-morning runner and cover most of my miles before sun-up, I’ve had my only close encounter with a car after sunrise.

I do everything in my power to avoid a collision with a car. I don’t wear an ipod most mornings when I run, and if I do, I stay on the sidewalk. I run facing traffic. I wear a bright light, and at least one brightly colored garment. I stick to routes that are well-lit.

On the morning of said encounter, I was running on the sidewalk, not listening to music. It was sometime after the sunrise, and light was full. The driver was on a one-way road, something akin to a driveway that leads out of the garages of about six homes and into a two-way street with a 25mph speed limit. Not only did the driver not come to a stop at the stop sign, she did not look to see if anyone or anything was in her path.

Guess what? I was. Her passenger, whose face was impossibly close to mine as this car came close to striking me, saw me, yelled, and struck her friend. Friend stopped, grinned sheepishly, and motioned, “Go ahead.”

No, dear, you go ahead. Please.

And just two days ago, a car pulled up on my right to pass me at a stop sign. I figured he had to make a right turn, but no, he took the right hand turn lane to pass me as I stopped at the stop sign.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’ve been known to exceed the speed limit once or twice, and it might even be on record somewhere. But drivers, please, keep an eye out for drivers and cyclists! The stop sign isn’t a suggestion, an inconvenience, or–alas!–a convenient place to pull ahead of the minivan in front of you that is actually doing 35 in a 30 (the nerve!).

Stop signs alert you to the fact that you’ve come to an intersection where caution is necessary. Stop!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2009 9:26 pm

    glad these were just close encounters! i actually had my foot run over by a car once but i take the blame for it… mostly. they were taking a rolling right hand turn at a red light and i thought they’d already gone through the intersection so i stepped off the sidewalk and into the back passenger side door. yeah i know, what was i looking at that i didn’t see a car in front of me. anyway, i survived (turned around, limped a little, and ran/walked back home). so, i’m just glad you were paying attention and hope you never have a real run in!

  2. the Zookeeper permalink*
    February 7, 2009 3:07 pm

    Ouch! I’m glad there was no permanent injury! It sure makes a great story! “Yes, I really have felt the runner’s high . . . “

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: