The One Missoula 4-Way Stop People Have a Hope of Using Correctly
Missoulians love to complain about Missoula streets, Missoula drivers, Missoula traffic, and all things related. Heck, I've even shared my own frustrations. There's plenty to find challenging. But let's try something new for a change. Spoiler: potentially unpopular and pollyanna-like opinion incoming.
I think there's one four-way stop in Missoula that, for the most part, people use correctly.
Before I share where this four-way stop is and why I think, on average, people use it correctly, let's review the rules of using a four-way stop. Here are four rules from Top Driver.
1. The first vehicle to arrive takes the right-of-way.
2. Always yield to the right.
3. Straight traffic take the right of way over turning traffic.
4. Right turns take the right of way over left turns.
More often than not, I've seen the rules above used at this particular four-way stop in Missoula.
Let me be clear, I don't have any statistics about how many accidents have or have not happened at this particular intersection. I'm basing this on anecdotal data alone.
I frequently pass through this intersection and I do so at all times of day, including when it's probably the most busy--right around the time school gets out.
Here's my argument: I think that people in Missoula are pretty good at using this intersection because it gets a lot of practice. Tons of people flow through on weekdays. It's also a pretty straightforward intersection. You have pretty good visibility from all four directions and the streets are straight, as opposed to feeding the intersection at an angle.
I'm talking about where South Avenue West meets Bancroft.
Yes, it can get wild when students leave Sentinel High School at the end of a school day, and I've heard there are plenty of fender benders that happen on Bancroft.
But the four-way stop itself. In my experience, people use it correctly most of the time.
As for these intersections, they're a bit more tricky.