The origin of the stop sign

The origin of the stop sign was not to take all the fun out of driving! The genesis of the stop sign was out of concern for safety. Though never an automobile driver himself, William Phelps Eno, who was dubbed “the father of traffic safety,” witnessed too much chaos in horse and buggy traffic while growing up in New York City in the mid to late 1800s. In 1900 he wrote an article titled “Reform in Our Street Traffic Urgently Needed” and suggested stop signs for intersections. The first stop sign was used in Michigan in 1915.

Mr. Eno was not a grumpy man who decided to place a sign every so often just to make traffic stop. He had a genuine concern for overall safety and order. And so today, thanks to him and many others, traffic has a regulated set of rules with the intent of keeping us all safe. The stop sign doesn’t have many interpretations. The directive is clear—Stop!

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