RAVENSWOOD MANOR — Everyone recognizes a "stop" sign when they see one.
No one seems to agree on what they mean.
Concerned about a planned traffic diversion trial that will force cars off of Manor Avenue and onto Wilson, Ravenswood Manor resident Christi Hruskovich Manna filmed the four-way stop at Wilson and Francisco for four minutes last Friday.
She posted the results to Facebook, noting: "95% of cars don't completely stop - majority of those don't stop at all!"
On closer review of the tape, of the approximately 35 vehicles captured passing through the intersection, at least a half dozen did indeed ignore the stop sign altogether, including one driver following the unspoken maxim of "I stopped when the car ahead of me stopped, ergo, that counts."
The remainder are a mixed bag of rolling stops and full stops, the latter typically occurring when other cars are present at the intersection (watch the video all the way to the end for an egregious exception).
Here's what the Illinois Rules of the Road manual has to say on the matter:
"This eight-sided red sign means STOP. You must make a complete stop at the stop line. If there is no stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection."
The key word here is "complete," and that's where things get fuzzy in a "that depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" kind of way.
The manual supplies no further guidance or definition of "complete." Contrary to urban legend, there's no "three-second rule" on the books.
General consensus among legal experts and motorists weighing in online: Complete means all forward momentum has totally ceased. Some even say the speedometer needs to register zero miles per hour.
Further food for thought: For those who interpret "stop" as "slowing down to a safe speed" — that's actually the definition of a "yield."
In response to complaints from neighbors, particularly regarding Wilson Avenue, the area's police commander, Elias Voulgaris, has ordered several enforcement patrols.
"Yes we have caught numerous drivers disobeying stop signs in the Ravenswood Manor area," Voulgaris told DNAinfo via email.
"We will continue our traffic enforcement missions in the area through enforcement and deterrence," he said.
So maybe count to three, just in case.
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