By MARK SARDELLA
I stop at all STOP signs.
It’s not personal. I’m not doing it to annoy you.
I’m also not trying to impress law enforcement. Nor am I a compulsive rule follower. I don’t strictly observe speed limits. Sometimes I put my trash barrels out too early. I often return library materials late.
But the last time I rolled through a STOP sign, which was approximately 10 years ago, it cost me a $100 fine and hundreds of dollars in insurance surcharges over the ensuing years.
So, ever since that day, I have come to a complete, full, dead stop at all STOP signs, much to the chagrin of thousands of drivers behind me.
As a public service, I have commissioned an independent survey to determine the rate at which motorists stop at STOP signs. The results revealed that slightly less than 0.0 percent of drivers come to a complete stop at STOP signs.
There are consequences. In the past week alone, there have been at least two accidents in Wakefield as a direct result of drivers failing to stop at STOP signs.
Last Saturday afternoon, a woman was cited by police after she blew through the STOP sign at Pleasant and Salem streets in her SUV, striking a motorcyclist and sending him to the hospital. A witness confirmed that the SUV driver didn’t stop.
On Monday a man was cited for a STOP sign violation after the Chrysler 300 he was driving emerged from Otis Street onto Vernon Street without bothering to stop. He crashed into a Jeep driven by a Wakefield woman. Luckily, there were no injuries.
I was beginning to think that this rampant disregard for STOP signs was a contributing factor in the rate car crashes. But a Facebook sage recently alerted me to the real cause: housing.
It makes sense when you think about it, which I was hoping to avoid. More houses equal more people, which means more traffic and more accidents.
But if we entirely eliminated housing in town and made everyone live in their cars, would that fix the traffic problem? I think I’ve made my point. Housing doesn’t cause traffic. Roads do. If you want to eliminate traffic, eliminate roads.
Climate activists should be quick to jump on board. Get rid of your Tesla, colonizer. Your battery is charged by electricity generated by fossil fuels.
Still, until our roadless paradise arrives, we will need traffic controls like STOP signs. But when people treat them as annoyances to be ignored, chaos ensues. Cars tend to crash.
And you know what really ties up traffic?
Car crashes. Especially when those crashes result in GPS systems rerouting drivers through a town that happens to be at the nexus of three major highways. Navigation systems and geographic location are bigger factors in day-to-day traffic than the latest multi-family residential building in Wakefield.
I’m frankly surprised that the Warrior Logo hasn’t been blamed for causing traffic. Or me, for that matter. I seem to be the last obstacle on the road to Wokefield. Who knew I had such power?
But I’m not here to preach. And won’t judge. If you want to roll through a STOP sign, be my guest. You probably won’t get caught. But if you do, I don’t want to hear a word about fines and insurance surcharges.
And if you’re behind me when I come to a complete stop at a STOP sign, I don’t want to hear the sound of your horn.
It will only further slow us both down.
I’ll feel compelled to accelerate at a snail’s pace so I can gaze into your angry eyes in the rearview mirror and contemplate a destination so wonderful that a delay of 1.2 seconds is worth blowing a gasket along the way.
Wherever that utopia is, we’ll both get there soon enough.