Letter: Four-way stop rules apply when traffic light is out

February 11, 2013 

Today I stopped at a nonworking light on George Washington Way. The guy behind me blared his horn. Since he was clearly saluting my knowledge of the traffic laws, I returned the show of respect with a special wave. Not to be outdone, he returned the gesture as he passed me. We chatted. I suggested his impressive expertise in traffic law could still be improved through study.

My last car was totaled when I was broadsided by a driver who failed to stop at a nonfunctioning traffic light. My wife was hurt in the accident, but luckily my son and I were unharmed. I got a new car. He got a citation.

Running darkened traffic lights is the most hazardous cultural norm indigenous to our area. In more urban areas, the four-way stop law works great because it's immediately obvious that without it, a demolition derby would ensue. Not here. But despite my fear of being rear-ended by the herd, I continue to stop at darkened lights.

We could fill Richland's coffers by simply parking a police officer nearby and turning off one of the lights on George Washington Way. He'll need a really thick citation book.

EDWARD SMITH, Richland

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