A NPJ reader expressed their frustration over the increasing number of drivers that “Block the Box.” It may not seem like there’s a lot of traffic in little ole’ Natchitoches when it’s compared to bigger cities like Baton Rouge, Houston or Los Angeles. But there’s a serious issue at select intersections in town including the four way stop at the intersection of Second and Church Street, both intersections at either end of the Church Street Bridge, and the intersection at the Jefferson Street side of the Keyser Bridge.
As an attempt to shed a little light on this frustrating situation, the NPJ decided to post some information on this common driving error. The following information comes from the City website for Austin, Texas. Maybe they’re on to something…?
What does it mean when to “Block the Box”?
When you block the box, you have entered an intersection when cars on the other side prevent you from making it all the way through. If cross traffic begins to move before you can get out of the intersection, you’re blocking that cross traffic from moving forward.
What should I do to avoid blocking the box?
To avoid blocking the box, you should wait to enter an intersection until you are sure you can make it all the way through. Wait behind the stop bar, not in the crosswalk, and look to see if the vehicles in front of you on the other side of the intersection have left enough room for you to make it through without stopping in the crosswalk on the other side. If you can’t clear an intersection, don’t enter it, period. Entering the intersection may stop those drivers from honking, but if cross traffic can’t get through because of you – those drivers will probably honk too.
What about if drivers behind me are honking and want me to go?
If you can’t clear an intersection, don’t enter it, period. Entering the intersection may stop those drivers from honking, but if cross traffic can’t get through because of you – those drivers will probably honk too.
Are there any dangers associated with blocking the box?
Yes! When cross traffic cannot get through, neither can emergency vehicles. Additionally, blocking the box can cause pedestrians to weave between cars if the crosswalk is impacted, decreasing their visibility to other travelers.
Well, I just don’t want to wait for another light cycle!
Everyone is trying to get somewhere, whether it’s home, work, school, or simply to meet up with friends and family. Be courteous to everyone’s trip, don’t block the box and we will all get to our destinations safely.