“The Perfect Stop” By Sergeant Michael Grant This is not meant as

“The Perfect Stop”
By Sergeant Michael Grant
This is not meant as an insult to anyone’s intelligence, but based on my observations,
few people know how to stop. Stop what you ask? Why your car of course! Did you know that
a great majority of traffic collisions occur in intersections? On a side note, did you know that we
in law enforcement no-longer call car crashes “traffic accidents” but “traffic collisions”? I would
like to help you to make “the perfect stop”.
First off, let me explain the California Vehicle Code section that covers stop signs.
Vehicle Code section 22450(a) states: “The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the
entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before
entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.” In law enforcement, we interpret
the act of “stopping” as just that, coming to a complete stop.
Sometimes people blatantly run stop signs in front of us, leaving no question in our
minds that a violation of the vehicle code has just taken place. When an officer is monitoring a
particular stop sign due to citizen complaints, officers watch for the approach of vehicles. The
officer will then pay particular attention to the wheels of a car as it approaches the limit line. If
the wheels stop turning completely, and the car has stopped before the limit line, then the
vehicle has made a proper stop. If however, the wheels fail to stop turning and the vehicle
merely slows down before proceeding, the vehicle has failed to stop properly. By the way, this
type of slow roll is commonly referred to as a “California Stop”.
So here is how to make a perfect stop:
1. Concentrate your efforts on making your vehicle come to a complete stop before the limit
line. This is especially true if you’re going to negotiate a right turn (most California Stops
take place during right turns…)
2. Once you feel that your vehicle has come to a complete stop (and you should literally
feel the cessation of forward motion…), now concentrate your efforts on looking to your
left, then you’re right, then your left again. Make sure the intersection is clear of
oncoming vehicles, bicyclist, pedestrians, and hover craft.
3. A tip for new drivers: Anticipate opposing drivers failing to stop for lights and stop signs
at intersections.
4. Once you feel confident that your way is clear, you can safely proceed
Remember, don’t insist on the right of way. I usually motion to other driver to proceed first. The
Stallion Springs Police Department takes your safety seriously. After all, we all have to share
the road!