The stop sign is one of the most common traffic signs, yet there is a bit of mystery about them. Do you stop in front of them, alongside them, or somewhere else? Even folks in the driver education industry can get somewhat confused. This is especially so when you have situations as shown in the accompanying pictures. Obviously, stopping behind or beside the stop sign in this case will not allow you to see around the corner of the building.
After much discussion during my training at Erskine College, the stop sign dilemma can be summed up as follows: A stop sign tells you what you must do, but a limit line tells you where you must do it. A limit line, also known as the stop line, is a broad painted white line on the road indicating the spot where the front of your car needs to be behind when you stop. When driving around town, you can observe that limit line locations are much more consistent than stop sign locations. But what do you do when there is no limit line?
The next marking to use is the crosswalk. This is a set of two parallel painted white lines, usually narrower than the limit line. Stop completely behind the first line that you approach. Crosswalks must be kept open for the safety of pedestrians. And now you are thinking, “What if there’s no crosswalk, either?”
The next reference point to use is the sidewalk along the cross street. In the second picture, you would use the portion of the sidewalk in yellow where it connects to the sidewalk perpendicular to your path of travel. And if there is not even a sidewalk?
Then you pull up as far as possible in order to have a clear view of cross traffic, without encroaching on the path of such traffic. Sometimes there is a narrow dashed white line indicating this, and sometimes not.
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