“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!