My town is the epicenter of the universe when it comes to four way stops. There really is no reason for most of them. I suppose that most were created by a stern "recommendation" by some crusty Board of Commissioner's wife who did not like it at all that she had to wait her turn at the entrance of her subdivision. This is precisely how ninety eight percent of all four way stops were most likely born in our county.
On my five mile drive to work there are two three way stops, one four way stops and three traffic lights. The issue is not whether drivers need to slow down, and they do, but rather what they do once they have stopped. The majority of southerners do not know what to do at a four way stop. They feel bad that you had to stop too. Therefore they do the only Southern thing to be done....wave the other person on through who got to the stop last. I found out lately that this is not the only time this event takes place. I was turning left at a traffic light last week when a nice lady coming toward me stopped on her green light (backing up traffic) to let me turn left. It's a Southern thing? Not sure about that.
What are the rules? Glad you asked.
Click here for South Carolina rules on a four way stop.
Click here for Georgia rules on a four way stop. Page 38.
Here is Jim Loy's notes on a four way stop. He has some very good insights.
EHow chimes in here.
I think that the problem in this county is that there is no real understanding of why a four way stop should be put in place. Stopping all traffic with a four way would mean logically all the traffic is even from all four directions. This is not the thought process in this county. Stop everyone no matter what is the motto. Stopping the flow of traffic for a subdivision entrance, for example, is nonsense.
Recently the city build an access road connection two county roads within the city limits. It connects heavy traffic from a Super Wal Mart to another county road, and will lighten traffic around major congestion. It has been completed. However, we cannot drive on it because it will cause a traffic dilemma as there is no traffic control at the intersection.The county said that they will not install a traffic light as they did not build the road; stating that the city built the road and they should have factored that into the cost. The Mayor closed the road citing that it was a dangerous intersection. He did suggest a solution: a four way stop. Hooah! Victory! Great thought processes are at work here.
Now I think that this is epic enough of a situation that a real solution be brought to light. A grandiose solution at that! Traffic circle. All of the great cities have them. Atlanta has the greatest traffic circle of them all in the Watermelon 500 (I-285). Paris, Saigon, London have them, and they are all pieces of art.
So Douglasville Georgia, give it a go. Traffic circles will solve your ills.