Stop Sign VS Stop Line: Where To Stop?

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You’re not alone in wondering about this

stop sign vs stop line

Here is a real story about a stop sign vs stop line. A Richmond, BC man recently took his stop-sign ticket to Supreme Court, and won.

The man stopped at a stop sign, rolled past the stop line (which was some 5 feet away from the sign), and received a ticket.

The police officer was correct in that the man did not follow proper procedure.

But, the judge agreed that the stop sign was confusing. It was located at a great length from the stop line. This was making the situation confusing for many drivers.

Stop sign vs stop line rules

Technically, you must stop at the stop line, not necessarily right beside the stop sign.

Sometimes the stop sign is at a slightly different location than the line, for different reasons.

One reason is that large trucks turning may need more room, so the stop line may be well before the sign in certain industrial areas.

Or, the stop sign may be located before the line due to visibility reasons.

Here are the general guidelines, as per the ICBC Learn to Drive Smart Manual.

when there’s a white Stop Line

If there is a stop line, stop with your front bumper just behind the line.

stop sign vs stop line
Pedestrians will be able to walk in front of your vehicle.

Stop sign vs stop sign : When there is a Marked Crosswalk

If there is a crosswalk, but no stop line, stop with the front bumper just behind the crosswalk.

marked crosswalk
Again, any pedestrians will have room to walk in front of your vehicle.

Stop Sign vs Stop Line: When there is an Unmarked Crosswalk

If there is an unmarked crosswalk – there is a sidewalk – stop just before where the crosswalk would be.

unmarked crosswalk
Unmarked crosswalks exist at almost every intersection. Even when there are no lines, this is still a legal place to cross the street for pedestrians.

When there is an Intersection – no markings

If there is no stop line, no crosswalk, and no sidewalk, stop just before the front bumper enters the intersection. The front bumper can be in line with the edge of the curb.

uncontrolled intersection

Stop sign vs stop line: Why?

Think about the reasons why we must stop before the line:

  • Pedestrian safety
  • Vehicles may be cutting corners
  • Large trucks may be turning
  • Other vehicles may not be able to see you properly if you stop too far away from the line and/or may become confused as to what you’re doing

If visibility is a problem

If, after you stop, you still can’t see properly, then you may inch forward into the intersection if need be. But, you must stop at the line (or proper position) first.

More information: 2-way stops: why do we have to stop behind the white line?

If you want to get in deeper about stop-sign intersections, check out my eBook for drivers: Intersections Illustrated: Stop Signs Edition.

Kind of like sports illustrated… only the sport is Stop Signs 😆

An entire ebook all about how to drive safely at Stop Sign Intersections. It’s over at my online store. 🙂

Hope that all made sense.

Read more about stop signs

How many hidden stop signs are in this picture?

Problems on the road test for ‘stopping twice’ at stop sign

Failed road test for speed and stop sign issues

Right turns without stop signs – Right of way Basics and shoulder checking

Do I have to stop at the yield sign? New driver questions

Question on Caulfield highway exit 4-way stop intersection West Vancouver


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