Stop means STOP
Although I could be talking about a lot of different things here, the above graphic should give you a clue.
I'm an early morning walker; as many of you who read my posts know. As the warm weather fades away (and it's going faster than I would like...this morning was a grim reminder of what is to come), I'll eventually and reluctantly move my walking indoors. While I may not like getting up or out of my cozy bed in the mornings, I DO like my early morning walks. Even in the dim light there is always something new to notice. (Like the extra large skunk on the playing field this morning!)
The most obvious thing I've noticed is how dark it is in the morning. During the height of the summer the sky was lightening even before 4:30 in the morning. Now as I head home around 6 (or sometimes even a little later), it is still quite dark out. (It's barely light when my son's alarm goes off at 6:30). I don't mind the dark, but it does make the walking a little more difficult. The sidewalks have lots of lumps, bumps and cracks. I took a nice fall a couple of years back (and it wasn't even as dark then) and I'm not looking to do that again. The roadway is often smoother for walking then the sidewalks.
While I do not have reflective clothing (perhaps I should? Suggestions??), I do try to dress in light colored clothing that would be easy to see. When I see headlights coming toward me, if I am in the street (rather than on the sidewalk, if there is one in the area), I try to stay as close to the edge of the road as possible. I realize that I am in the vehicles "territory." And no matter where or when I am walking it's my responsibility to be alert. I am responsible for my own safety.
With that said, let us not forget the stop sign. As this blog post says: Stop means STOP. I don't care if it's 4 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon. Stop means STOP. Maybe you'd be more apt to stop at 4 in the afternoon than you would at the same hour in the morning, but stop means STOP. I'm not saying that I haven't been guilty of making a "full and complete" stop; I certainly have. I even got pulled over for it once; and rightfully (shamefully) so. I SHOULD have stopped. After all, stop means STOP. (And I DID learn my lesson.)
There's a reason for that sign at the corner. It's not there to make you late for work. It's not there to annoy you. It's there to keep YOU and me safe. It's there to keep other pedestrians, of all ages safe. It's there to keep other drivers and vehicles safe. Stop means STOP.
And I know those 4 way stops can be a pain. Who goes first when cars all reach the corner at the same time? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the car on the right has the right of way. But they also say (and you have to love this), "If in doubt, bail out. Even if you have the right-of-way, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable or that your safety is threatened, let the other traffic go ahead. Your safety always comes first."
Safety first! It may be yours; it may be mine. Just remember stop means STOP.