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Avoid crashes by understanding stop sign and signal use

There are many times when car crashes could be avoided. From someone running a stop sign to a person crossing the center line, there are countless instances where simple mistakes lead to serious crashes.

As someone who has been hit, it’s important to know what you can or cannot do on the roads. Sometimes, reviewing common causes of accidents can help you avoid further collisions in the future, because you’ll be able to look for others who are making simple mistakes.

Do you have to stop at a stop sign?

There is a misconception that you don’t have to stop at a stop sign. There is also the misconception that you’re supposed to stop at the sign, not at the white line on the ground (if it is present).

So, what is the correct way to stop at a stop sign? You need to stop at the sign or at the clearly marked stop line if one is present. The only time you don’t have to stop at a stop sign is if there is a police officer or traffic-control signal that is taking precedent.

Stop signs do require you to come to a full stop. If there is a stop line, you must stop before the line. If there is a crosswalk, then you have to stop before entering the crosswalk.

Did you know that you also have to stop before entering the roadway in some unmarked areas?

If you are entering a road while coming out of an alley, parking lot, parking ramp or a private driveway, you have to stop before entering the roadway. You also are obligated to stop prior to a sidewalk or crosswalk that crosses your path, so the pathway is clear for any pedestrians who are using it.

As a pedestrian, do you have to wait for the “walk” signal to cross in a crosswalk?

If there is one present, you do need to wait until the signal changes to cross. When the signal is red, it is a warning not to walk and is treated like any other traffic signal. Vehicles must also stop before the crosswalk and may not enter the crosswalk unless the traffic signal is green.

Understanding traffic signs and signals is a great way to prevent injuries. If someone violates the laws regarding these signs or signals, you can pursue a claim against them for any injuries you suffer.