Ask a Trooper: Every driver has to stop for stop signs

Published 10:21 am Monday, June 20, 2016

Sgt. Troy Christianson Ask a Trooper Minnesota State Patrol

Sgt. Troy Christianson
Ask a Trooper
Minnesota State Patrol

Question: My husband and I are arguing about the proper way to stop at a stop sign. He insists if you are 20 feet away from the sign and stop, because a car in front of you may have stopped and then pulled half way out into the intersection and stopped again, your stop 20 feet back constitutes a legal stop and you do not need to stop again before proceeding into the intersection. Can you put it in writing for me? Or better yet, cite the statute? I’ve bounced around the statute site all evening and not found anything that specifically addresses this. Thanks.

Answer: Minnesota State Statute 169.30 states: “Every driver of a vehicle shall stop at a stop sign or at a clearly marked stop line before entering the intersection, except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic-control signal.”

At a stop sign with a marked stop line, you must stop before the line. If there is a pedestrian crosswalk you must stop before entering the crosswalk. If the vehicle in front of you comes to a stop in the improper place, you are still required to come to a stop in the proper position and proceed only when it is safe, and when you have the right of way.

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All stop signs require that you come to a complete stop; you must also come to a complete stop in the following situations:

•Before entering a road from an alley, a private driveway, a parking lot, or a parking ramp.

•Before crossing an adjoining sidewalk or crosswalk.

•At an intersection or crosswalk with a traffic signal displaying a red light you must stop until the signal changes to green and your path is clear before proceeding.

•Treat a flashing red traffic light as you would a stop sign.

•At a freeway ramp meter you must stop when the light is red.

•At a railroad crossing with a stop sign you must come to a complete stop. At railroad crossings without a stop sign, proceed with caution before crossing, making sure there is not a train approaching.

•When a flag person or traffic device directs you to stop.

•At a bridge that has been raised to open a path for boats to pass beneath it.

After you have come to a complete stop, you must yield to the right-of-way to pedestrians, bicyclists and traffic before proceeding. If your view of the intersection is obstructed, be alert and prepare to stop again for traffic or pedestrians that may be in your path.

Pedestrians and motorists are equally responsible for pedestrian safety. We all must follow the law, pay attention and share the road. Together we can drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.

The Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program brings area law enforcement, public health educators, engineers and emergency medical and trauma services together to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and severe injuries to zero in southeast Minnesota.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at,