A rolling stop is any situation where you do not stop completely at a stop sign or red signal before passing through it. Drivers often slow down at stop signs before continuing. But according to laws in every state, you must come to a complete stop with no forward momentum at a stop sign. Coming to a full stop at a stop sign is just one of the basic driving rules everyone should know.

Is a rolling stop legal?

A rolling stop is never legal for a motor vehicle. However, some states allow rolling stops for cyclists under certain conditions. These states allow cyclists to roll through a stop sign, provided they slow down on approach and only roll through if it’s safe.

Why are rolling stops dangerous?

Rolling stops are a bad driving habit. There is an unspoken understanding among drivers when it comes to common traffic laws. You might not realize you do it, but you determine your actions based on what others are doing. If you come to a stop sign and another driver is still moving forward, you expect them to stop. If that driver decides to run through the stop sign, it could result in an accident.

In fact, over 50% of all car accidents resulting in injury or death take place at intersections. Considering most rolling stops occur to maintain speed, an accident resulting from a rolling stop is highly likely to result in serious injury or even death.

Rolling stops are also dangerous for another reason. You will find pedestrian walkways at many stops, especially those governed by traffic lights. Pedestrians don’t always wait until the sign tells them to walk; sometimes they begin moving forward when the corresponding traffic light turns red. If you perform a rolling stop through a pedestrian crosswalk, you risk hitting a pedestrian or someone riding a bicycle through the intersection. Stop signs aren’t just for motorists.

What are the penalties for a rolling stop?

The most common penalty for a rolling stop is a ticket and a fine. You may also face other penalties, depending on why you performed the rolling stop. If it happened due to being in a hurry, you might only receive the moving violation. However, if you made a rolling stop because of a mobile device or because you were eating, you might also receive a distracted driving ticket and rack up even more fines.

More serious penalties can happen if you injure someone or cause a fatality because of a rolling stop. You might face criminal charges, as well as face civil suits. How well do you know the rules of the road? Take our rules of the road survey and see how well your knowledge stacks up against other drivers.