The ramblings of a giant squid…

“Yield” is not the syntactic equivalent of “Stop”

Friends-Romans-Countrymen, Rules, Travel

From the Ontario Driver’s Handbook:


Is Not Equal Tostop




A stop sign is eight-sided and has a red background with white letters. It means you must come to a complete stop. Stop at the stop line if it is marked on the pavement. If there is no stop line, stop at the crosswalk, marked or not. If there is no crosswalk, stop at the edge of the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, stop at the edge of the intersection. Wait until the way is clear before entering the intersection.

A yield sign is a triangle with a white background and a red border. It means you must let traffic in the intersection or close to it go first. Stop if necessary and go only when the way is clear.

I have to get this out or I’m going to explode.

A yield sign does not mean the same thing as a stop sign. Everyone with a driver’s licence should know that, but here in Ottawa, it seems to be lost on most people. And because it’s lost on most people, it makes driving a real pain in the arse for people who actually know how to drive.

In Ontario law, a yield sign requires a driver to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic and be prepared to stop IF NECESSARY. This is not the same as a stop sign, which requires drivers to bring their vehicle to rest at the stop line and proceed when it is safe to do so.

Despite these differences, so many people in Ottawa will charge into the yield lane of a right turn, and jam on the brakes – even when there is no oncoming traffic. What are they waiting for? Why do they do this? It’s manifestly unsafe for people behind them who, seeing that there is no traffic now have to suddenly stop.

Recently, it became law that drivers must yield to a bus that is signalling to exit a bus stop. Again, it is becoming the habit of many drivers to stop behind the bus every time the bus stops. The requirement in law is that if the bus is signalling intent to enter the traffic flow, drivers behind must stop if it is safe to do so – the requirement is NOT that all traffic move at the speed of the slowest bus.

Today, on my way to work, I got the thrill of being behind one of these mental giants as I plodded down McCarthy Rd., forced to stop behind a car that stopped with with the bus in front, at every bus stop, and did so close to the centre line so I couldn’t pass both the car and the bus. I do so enjoy having my time wasted, not to mention the thrill of wasting gas idling behind a bus and a nimrod, and executing a series of stop/start manoeuvers.

And people wonder what causes road rage…

What is it about people in Ottawa? I’ve lived in the Toronto area. I’ve lived in Montreal. I’ve lived in Vancouver. For all practical purposes, I’ve even lived in Chicago for a few months. Only here do people seem incapable of yielding. When people stop for no reason, it makes me think they’re actually drunk and being over cautious, so it’s actually a bit scary.

Oh well. This post won’t change things, but it’s nice to scream about it. Grrr.

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