Stop or slow, what’s the difference?
I was speaking recently to a licensed driver who had a few driving problems. I had taken him out for a driving evaluation and noticed he rolled his stops. He wasn’t aware he was doing that until I explained what he was doing. Do you roll stops as well? Maybe you do, but aren’t sure. I gave him solutions so he can make full stops. Maybe these tips can work for you as well.
Our brain plays tricks on us when we’re stopping. Once you notice a stop sign you begin to slow down. After we stop, we scan the intersection to see if it’s clear to enter. Once we see that it’s clear, we progress through the intersection. Drivers who roll stops often fool themselves into thinking they are stopping. For example, if you scan the intersection as you slow down and you notice that it’s clear, your brain tells you to go. Your brain told you it was clear, so you ended up bypassing the actual stopping process.
The problem here is that you actually think you stopped. People have argued with me about this from time to time, and I also know they have argued with the police officer who pulled them over for a rolling stop. The driver actually believes they fully stopped. And why wouldn’t they? They were originally thinking about stopping, but then changed their thought process. Have you ever argued with someone who said you rolled a stop?
Then there’s the person who says; “What’s the difference between stopping and slowing?” There’s a huge difference, but not in time. It reminds me of a joke I’ve told many times. If I hit you with a bat, would you like me to slow down or stop? See, there is a difference between slowing and stopping.
The driver I was out with recently said to me afterwards that it feels like he’s taking so much longer to get to his destinations because he has to come to a full stop. I worked it out to him like this; if you roll through 10 stops, at an average of saving 2 seconds per stop, you’ve saved 20 seconds. Yes, 20 seconds. What activity could you do that’s worthwhile that you can do in those 20 seconds? The other part of this scenario is the fact that you may also be driving toward a red light. That means you’re not saving any time because the rolling stops would mean you would have reached the red light sooner.
Not only is it safer to make full stops, it allows you to properly scan the intersection. If you’re thinking about stopping first, then you’ll be looking for other road users who may be entering the intersection. Rolling through may cause you to crash because you’re thinking about going instead of thinking about stopping. What do you think about that?