07 September 2013

We Don't Know How to Drive in Pennsylvania; Can You Help Us?

If you can navigate the following intersection without dying or killing anyone else, the State of Pennsylvania should automatically grant you a drivers license and maybe even give you the car of your choice.  Annette and I both have different opinions on what is supposed to happen at this intersection that I used to go through every day on the way to work from the Hilton.
Dilemma:  The above intersection has four streets converging, but NOT onto the same spot like your typical four-way intersection.  It also has four stop signs, BUT two of those stop signs are facing the same direction on the same street.
Lewisberry Rd:  Every morning I would be driving north on Lewisberry Rd (bottom left corner).   The lines on the road are faint (even when you're in the car) so Annette helped by drawing a solid white line where their dotted white line is.  If I were continuing onto Lewisberry Rd making a sharp left, I would not have to stop.  If I am traveling south on Lewisberry Rd (top left corner), you can see stop sign #1, but there is an additional sign on the same post that tells you that you do NOT have to stop if you are turning right (or continuing) onto Lewisberry Rd.  You only have to stop if you want to turn left from stop sign #1.
Fishing Creek Rd:  If I am on Fishing Creek Rd heading west (top right corner), I have two stop signs.  The first stop sign is #3.  After stopping at #3, presumably you can continue on to stop sign #4 which awkwardly blocks cars that are stopped at #2 and VERY awkwardly blocks cars that want to go from Lewisberry Rd to Ironstone Rd.
Ironstone Rd:  This leads me to Ironstone Rd.  As just mentioned, there is nothing stopping the traffic from Lewisberry Rd from continuing on to Ironstone Rd, unless there are cars piled up at stop sign #4.  If you're traveling south on Ironstone Rd, you must stop at stop sign #2.
Unanswered Question #1:  If you are heading south on Ironstone and you stop at stop sign #2, and you want to go south on Lewisberry Rd, do you make a short, awkward merge onto Fishing Creek and stop at stop sign #4 as well?  Or is it good enough to say you made your stop and you can continue through.  I'll tell you that it's difficult NOT to make an awkward little turn-stop at #4, because if you don't, it's almost impossible to see whether or not someone is coming down Lewisberry Rd from the north and whether or not they're going to stop at their stop sign (because, again, they don't have to stop if they're continuing right).  Guess what?  No one else stops at sign #4.  They stop at sign #2 and then they just go for it and hope that no one is coming down Lewisberry Rd.
Unanswered Question #2:  If I'm heading north on Lewisberry Rd and I want to go straight on to Ironstone Rd, what do I do?  Technically, from the map you can see that a small portion of Fishing Creek Rd is in between Lewisberry Rd and Ironstone Rd.  Can I just blow through Fishing Creek Rd right on to Ironstone Rd?  If not, what do I do?  Do I slow down and put on my right hand blinker to merge onto Fishing Creek Rd and then my left hand blinker to merge onto Ironstone Rd?  Legally?  Maybe.  But according to the Law of Survival there's NO WAY you would do that.  You'll be killed.  People are heading into this intersection at 40 to 45 miles per hour.  Much hesitation here and you'll be rear ended.  This was my dilemma every day.  I was supposed to head off of Lewisberry and on to Ironstone.  And no one ever stops.  They just blast straight ahead.  Having said that, if cars on Fishing Creek Rd are plugging up the hole, I guess you'd be forced to merge one car's length onto Fishing Creek Rd and put on the left hand blinker and hope that the people behind you are observant.
Unanswered Question #3:  We never did travel this way, but imagine if you're the poor sucker that is traveling southeast on Lewisberry Rd and you have to stop because you want to turn left.  You'd pretty much better say your prayers and consider a shot at deathbed repentance because you can't see the cars careening down the Lewisberry Rd hill at 40 mph from your right and you can't see the cars on Ironstone Rd that are stopped at stop sign #2 and who probably aren't going to stop again at sign #4.
Here's another one, although this one's doesn't really have questions.  I understand it, but I hate it and I'll tell you why later.

Shortly after having my nerves assaulted at the last intersection, I would come up Ironstone Rd, eastward bound.  As you can see, there's stop sign #1, but I don't have to stop if I'm turning right.  The cars coming down Steigerwalt Hollow Rd have to stop at sign #3.  I did turn right so my first stop was at #2.  I would then look both ways and turn left onto Fishing Creek Rd.  Of course, with all of the hills in PA, you can look both ways at stop signs, but you only have a 50% chance of actually being able to see both ways which was the case here.  For what it's worth, on my return trip, I don't have to stop.  There's no stop to turn right onto Steigerwalt Hollow Rd and there's no stop to turn left onto Ironstone Rd.

Now I will tell you what I hate about the stop signs that have exceptions.  On the face of it, it could sound cool that less people have to stop, than in say, Utah, where everyone has to stop at all stop signs. What is annoying is that you can never look around at the other stop signs and know if people are going to stop.  So, when I am at a complete stop at a stop sign, I have to wait for other cars to come to their complete stop because I don't really know if they're slowing down to stop, or slowing down to keep going through the intersection.