Wind and rain characterized Vancouver’s weather over the past few weeks as the Northwest Coast withstood the constant bombardment of weather system after weather system. Used to it, we continue our lives in Lotus Land as if we were living somewhere in Southern California. My fitness class participants in my fitness classes appear undaunted by the tumultuous torrents – with the exception of a hint of moss growing on their north sides.

Vancouverites realize that our weather comes from the vicinity of Hawaii. Our weather office dubbed this perennial weather system “The Pineapple Express.” Besides pineapples, the weather represents Hawaii’s number one export.

Unfortunately, Vancouverites don’t know how to drive in the wind. Of course, the engines of our sports utility vehicles have the horsepower to run into a hurricane force headwind without wrinkling our rag tops. Our problem arises with the effect of the wind.

Wind has the habit of churning up the vegetation. It breaks trees by it blowing them over. Sometimes they blow across the roads. We climb over their carcasses by shifting our transmissions into tree climbing mode. Sometimes they blow over a power line. This makes an adventuresome commute as the high tension cables rear up from the ground and spitting sparks like angry cobras searching for a victim to strike. In cases such as these, wind breaks the power connection to the traffic lights.

Lower mainland radio stations announce the traffic lights’ failure over the airways and state firmly that, “. . . The four-way stop procedure is in effect on the corner of Abbott and Hastings as the traffic lights are out.”

Here’s where the confusion sets in. After years of driving, I conclude that only people who know about the four-way stop procedure are radio announcers.

Sometime after my 16th birthday, I became conscripted into the world of the motorist. My father, a seasoned tugboat skipper and a man well versed in the intricacies of traffic control on the high seas, was the one who ushered me in. He held private driving lessons in the family station wagon. Here I learned all about these intersections.

“All you have to remember when you come up to a four-way stop is to stop – then go,” said Pop while adjusting his grip on the door handle. “You have to stop – then go. Otherwise you you’ll screw the whole thing up. There’s one coming up in the next block. Remember . . . stop – then go. Don’t screw the whole thing up. Aaaaa, you screwed the whole thing up.”

Actually, it’s a bit more complex than that. You stop, then yield to the person on your right. Then proceed. In theory, the system should work out in a manner that permits traffic to flow east and west, and north and south at alternate intervals. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. I give you a list of ten ways to screw up the four-way stop procedure.

1. Missing your turn because you were talking on your cell phone.

2. Waiting for someone to show up on your right so you can yield.

3. Missing your turn because you were calling the radio station to inform everyone that the four-way stop procedure is in effect at an intersection.

4. Waiting for the car on the left at a one-way street where all the traffic comes from the right.

5. Not stopping.

6. Making up new rules for the four-way stop procedure.

7. Stalling at the intersection

8. Ogling the beautiful and mysterious pedestrian trying to cross at the intersection.

9. Honking at a would-be crossing screw-up thus inciting road rage.

10. Honking at the policeman placed in the intersection to help you interpret the four-way stop procedure.

You won’t find the four-way stop procedure in effect at the following locations:

1. In the middle of a bridge.

2. At a freeway on-ramp.

3. At a freeway off ramp.

I hope these suggestions help you in your quest for a safe commute to work on a windy morning. I’m just approaching the intersection of Abbott and Hastings where I hear a power outage enacted the four-way stop procedure. I’ll stop- then go. Hmmm. What’s that honking. Somebody is trying to instil road rage. I hear his voice. “Hey buddy! That light isn’t going to get any greener!”

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.


8 Responses to “THE 4-WAY STOP PROCEDURE”

  1. Kids Fitness Made Fun W music KU | Says:

    […] THE 4-WAY STOP PROCEDURE « SpinDoctorResumes […]

  2. Sharon Says:

    Funny!! Thanks for the laughs.

    One suggestion: in first para – “fitness class participants in my fitness class” is reduntant.

    Keep up the good work. I want to read about the fence/marital discord.

  3. Marti Says:

    LOL! That must be a universal failing of drivers everywhere, because I am in Missouri, in the center of the continental United States, and nobody here gets it right (well, don’t do it correctly) either.

    Great piece!

  4. JODY Says:

    Hey, stop then go is better than Blow and Go! I always stop but can never remember if I yield to my right or left so I “blow the horn, then go”.

  5. Joanie Says:

    Mike, maybe you should consider walking. You would have less decision making challenges.

  6. Ashana Says:

    Mike ………. You’re sick

  7. Hand Car Wash : Says:

    our door handles broke easily that is why we are now using tempered steel or tempered bronze’-*

  8. seo boston Says:

    Good point that I had never thought of before.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: