Drivesmart: Shadow your brake — they might not stop in time

One evening while patrolling in an unmarked police car, I approached a cross street that was controlled by stop signs.

One evening while patrolling in an unmarked police car, I approached a cross street that was controlled by stop signs.

I could see a car approaching from my right going fast enough that I was concerned that the driver did not intend to stop. I shadowed my brake pedal and when the other vehicle was at a 45 degree angle making a right turn I stomped and stopped. So did he. We sat and looked at each other for a moment and when it was clear that he wasn’t going to go, I waved him forward.

I’m sure that you are anticipating why I wanted to have this driver in front of me. Yes, I turned on my emergency equipment and pulled him over to issue a traffic ticket for disobeying the stop sign. The driver was not happy with the outcome and said so. He had come to a complete stop, why was I bothering him by writing the ticket? I explained that it was not only important to stop for stop signs, it was also important how and where you stopped.

The stop sign only tells you what you need to do when you face one. It is the markings, or lack of them, on the road that tell you where you must stop. If there is a marked stop line, then you must stop before you cross it. If there is a marked crosswalk and no stop line, you stop before entering the crosswalk. If there are no markings present, you stop before you encroach on the lane used by cross traffic.

Now that you’ve stopped, what if you can’t see properly? Your next step is to carefully move ahead to where you can see sufficiently well and stop again. Proceed when it is safe to do so. I have been advised by ICBC driving examiners that the secondary stop is not necessary if no cross traffic is present. However, if you are taking a road test, it would be wise to discuss this with your examiner before you start the exam.