How Stop Signs Work In Ontario

If you have ever had a question about Stop Signs there is plenty of information on the rules and regulations on how they work to be found at

It is broken down into many sections however and to help simplify things a little here is a quick rundown of Ontario’s rules about Stop Signs.

– You must come to a complete stop for all stop signs and red traffic lights. Stop at the stop line if it is marked on the pavement.

– If there is no stop line, stop at the crosswalk, marked or not. If there is no crosswalk, stop at the edge of the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, stop at the edge of the intersection. Wait until the way is clear before entering the intersection.

– At an intersection with stop signs at all corners, you must yield the right-of-way to the first vehicle to come to a complete stop. If two vehicles stop at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right.

– At any intersection where you want to turn left or right, you must yield the right-of-way. If you are turning left, you must wait for approaching traffic to pass or turn and for pedestrians in or approaching your path to cross. If you are turning right, you must wait for pedestrians to cross if they are in or approaching your path. You should also check your blind spot for cyclists approaching from behind, particularly in a bike lane to your right, on a sidewalk or a trail. A yield sign means you must slow down or stop if necessary and yield the right-of-way to traffic in the intersection or on the intersecting road.

This leads to an easy to follow list of how to approach an intersection with Stop Signs.
1. Anticipate the need to stop. This is easy when you can clearly see the sign but on hills or around blind curves, you may not be able to see a stop sign long before you are close to it. In some of these cases, you will see a separate sign warning you ahead of time that a stop sign is approaching. Whatever the situation, be prepared to slow down as soon as you see a stop sign.
2. Allow adequate time and distance to stop. The exact amount of time or distance you need to stop will depend upon a number of factors, including your speed, the weather, and the physical conditions of the road. However, you should start slowing down at least 150 feet before the stop sign. If you are traveling at high speeds, if the weather conditions are poor, or if the road conditions are dangerous you will need to allow more time and distance to slow down.
3. Come to a complete stop. This means your vehicle is not moving in any way. Do not simply slow down or pause. If there is a solid white bar or a crosswalk painted across the intersection, you should stop before it, so that you don’t block it. If there is no painted stopping line, then stop slightly before the stop sign so that you can see in all directions at the intersection. If you cannot see clearly around the intersection, slowly pull forward slightly until you can see, and come to a complete stop again. If another vehicle is already stopped at the stop sign in front of you, you must first stop behind it, then AGAIN come to a complete stop at the stop sign once that vehicle moves on. It is best to count to three after reaching a complete stop.
4. Recognize the kind of intersection. Is it a 2-way stop? A 4-way stop? Or a T-junction with a 3-way or 1-way stop? Stop signs may be used at several kinds of intersections, and different traffic rules are enforced at each. It is important to know which kind of stop you are approaching so that you know which rules to follow. Many stop signs will have a smaller sign below the red octagon indicating if the stop is a four-way, three-way, etc.
5. Look both ways for traffic. Even after you stop, you are required to let any traffic moving across your path go by first. Only cross the intersection if any traffic is a safe distance away. The exact distance will depend on the speed of the oncoming traffic and other concerns, so always use good judgment and play it safe. Remember that traffic on the road may include bicyclists, motorcycles, and other vehicles, in addition to automobiles.
6. Check for pedestrians. If there are pedestrians moving across the intersection (people walking, running, bicycling, etc.), you are required to let them go by before crossing it yourself. This is true even if there is no other motor vehicle traffic at the intersection.
7. Obey right-of-way. If there is already another vehicle (car, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.) stopped at the stop sign across the street from you when you come to the stop sign, you are required to let it proceed first. If two vehicles come to a stop at an intersection at the same time, a driver turning left must yield to traffic going straight or turning right. If neither driver is turning, then let the driver to your right proceed first. In all cases, let safety prevail and do everything you can to prevent an accident. For instance, if another vehicle starts to proceed before its “turn,” just let it go by and proceed when the roadway is clear.
8. Cross the intersection. Once the roadway is clear of oncoming vehicles and pedestrian traffic, and you have yielded the right-of-way to any vehicles already stopped at the intersection, you may proceed across it. Move at a reasonable speed, and continue on your way.

If you can follow this 8 step process you will have successfully navigated an intersection within the bounds of the laws of Ontario. Not to do so leaves you open to a stop sign ticket under the Highway Traffic Act ( – 136 which carries four different penalties:
– Three demerit points
– A fine of $110.00
– A conviction registered on your driving record for three years
– Possible insurance increases and determination of fault in accident cases

If there are any other road rules you have questions about the answers can typically be found at

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