Opinion: Stop signs aren’t optional — even in a rush


Illustration by Rachel Schuldt

Tyler Tousley | Opinions Editor
Sept. 23, 2016; 12:00 p.m.

A trend I’ve noticed at Lindenwood is drivers not stopping for the stop signs around campus. Although I do not think they are always necessary on a college campus, I do think they are crucial during hours of operation.

Illustration by Rachel Schuldt
Illustration by Rachel Schuldt

An investigation by the Legacy found that nearly 75 percent of drivers ran through stop signs. Over two half-hour periods during the lunch rush, 380 cars were observed driving in front of the Spellmann Center. Of these cars, 284 of them did not come to a complete stop at one of the five stop signs in the area. When I say a “complete stop,” I mean a complete stop; not slowing down a little bit, not a rolling stop, but all four tires completely stationary. This can often be measured by what I call the “bounce-back” where the driver stops, and you feel the car do somewhat of a “bounce” backwards — hence the name.

As a college student in a hurry, I understand the feeling of not having time to stop at every stop sign, but I think it has gotten a little out of hand. A college campus is somewhat like a really big parking lot, and, I have to admit, I don’t always stop at the signs in parking lots either. With that said, if there are people or other cars around, I do stop to ensure the safety of everybody around, even if they aren’t necessarily crossing my path. This is how I view our campus.

On a Saturday afternoon, when much of the campus has gone home for the weekend, and there is not a soul around, when you approach a stop sign, I think it is fine not to completely stop — slowing down is always a good precaution though. During lunch time Monday through Friday, when our investigation took place, it is kind of idiotic not to stop. Students and professors are walking around, crossing the street on the way to class. Other drivers are arriving or leaving campus or driving to their next class. If nobody stopped, we would have a huge number crashes on our hands.

Not only am I a student who drives, but also one who walks around campus — I know, shocking. I can absolutely attest to not paying attention while crossing or walking in the road on campus. People have in headphones or are talking to friends, and although they need to be aware of their surroundings, it makes it incredibly unsafe when motorists do not follow the traffic signs. With 75 percent of drivers on campus running stop signs, I’m a little concerned to cross a campus road.

There is a time and a place for everything. When campus is buzzing with busy people it is not the appropriate time or place to be running stop signs, no matter how much of a hurry you are in.