Stop signs mean stop, right? Well, not in Billings, Montana. People here in Billings are convinced that stop signs are a suggestion, not a command, not an order, not a dead-to-rights absolute, but just a suggestion. There are several types of offenses that I deal with every day I drive in Billings. Let me outline a few.
One is the classic “rolling stop”, where the driver rolls forward, inch by inch, infringing further and further upon the territory of the intersection without ever actually stopping. This makes me nervous, I have to admit, and I watch these types very closely as I take my turn at the four-way stops.
Another is the “farmer stop”, where the driver is coming full-bore at at least 25 mph and simply looks both ways or just straight ahead on faith before barrelling through the stop sign. No stop. Not even a “slow-down”. These are often people with trailers or large vehicles that make them feel entitled to run over you and your rights, as the stop sign is only a suggestion to them. They’re not “natural” or “native”, like grasses or weeds they see in the field, so that means that it’s simply a tourist attraction or something, I guess.
A third is the “sneak-through”, where the vehicle behind the driver actually attempting to possibly stop at the stop sign sneaks through hot on the bumper of the vehicle that had the right-of-way, thus cheating the stop sign and disregarding their duty to stop. Again, just a suggestion. They figure that if they stopped in some form or slowed down enough within the last 1000 feet or so, they have the right to sneak on through and save the stop for some other occasion.
Unfortunately, I have to ask: Was that stop sign a suggestion? For many, it seems to be. So drive defensively, don’t trust anybody else’s driving, and if you see someone pull one of these or another trick at a stop sign, just sigh and move on with your life. I can’t offer any better advice. And if you’re one of the drivers who think that stop signs are just a suggestion, THEY’RE NOT. STOP!!!