An Open Letter to Mainers Who Confuse a Yield With a Stop
Dear Fellow Maine Drivers,
We have reached a point where I am completely fed up with a lot of you. I honestly don't know what has changed, but clearly drivers have just simply forgotten some significant rules of the road.
There's a driver pandemic that's wreaking havoc, especially on my mental health. That pandemic is drivers who think a yield sign is a stop sign. These are two completely different traffic laws, folks. What's the mix-up?
Honestly, do these look similar?
Differences: Design, Shape, Wording
The most important difference is meaning. Let's look at the definition of the common yield sign.
According to drivers-test.org....
At a yield sign, drivers must slow down and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicles that are approaching from another direction.
This is simple enough. It comes down to straightforward right-of-way rules. The driver approaching the sign slows, looks, then goes. Or slows, looks, sees oncoming traffic and either slows more, stops to wait, or goes.
It's a very black-and-white rule of the road. So, why do people neglect to understand how this works? Why do people continually treat a yield sign like a stop sign?
The whole idea of a yield sign is that you don't automatically stop. It's a traffic flow issue, people. A yield is specifically designed to keep you moving. In fact, it was a pretty great innovation.
According to worksafetci.com, the yield sign was put into law for the "purpose of assigning right of way where a stop is not required".
It's literally written into the rule that a "stop is not required". Yet, the first instinct of so many is to stop. It's maddening.
By admission, I'm a very impatient driver. Quite frankly, I don't have enough time in the day for it to be wasted on the road. My time is too valuable. The last thing I need is some genius who clearly didn't listen in driver's education class (I got a 100 on my test. No biggie).
Now, if you are uncomfortable about how the yield sign works or right-of-way laws, don't get too discouraged. There are some solutions that I would suggest.
1. Obey the Actual Law - Study the law. Realize how it works. Understand its benefits. A dead stop at a yield can be quite dangerous. If the person behind actually understands a yield sign, then they are not going to take too kindly to an unauthorized stop.
2. Don't Drive Scared - This is common sense. Driving is inherently dangerous. The last thing you want to do is make it even more challenging by not having the confidence behind the wheel.
3. Walk - Perhaps this is a better choice for you. It's healthy, and you can experience Maine's beautiful weather.
4. Uber - Have someone drive for you! What a wonderful concept. However, just make sure to give them a low rating if they don't understand right-of-way laws either.
5. Have Me Pick You Up - Hey, I know I said I'm busy, but give me a shout. I'll literally take you through 135 yield signs so you can see how they actually benefit everyone.
With one or two of these solutions, I'm sure the world will become a better place. And remember...Yield Sign ≠ Stop Sign.
We are all in this together, folks. Let's get to our destination in the most efficient and safest way we can. Learn how to yield properly.