What Is A Rolling Stop In Driving & Its Legality?

What is a rolling stop in driving and its legality?

Written by Aaron R. Winston
Last Updated: March 28, 2024 4:25pm CDT

What is a rolling stop in driving and its legality?

In today’s fast-paced world, we often feel pressured to hurry up and make every second count.

We don’t want to be late, and many people have a fear of missing out.

This collective angst about accomplishing compels us to rush and makes us feel like we need to always be hustling to tick off errands and complete our morning commutes.

Having a sense of urgency can also lead to situations where you suddenly see police lights flashing in your car’s rearview mirror and the police officer telling you they pulled you over for making a rolling stop.

Hopefully, by reading this resource guide in which we dive into the details surrounding what a rolling stop is, its legality, and dangers, you can better avoid finding yourself in situations where you are being ticketed for failing to come to a complete stop at an intersection.

With that said, let’s define the traffic law term: “rolling stop.”

The Legality and Meaning of Rolling Stops [Video]

Defining What Is a Rolling Stop?

A rolling stop, often referred to as a “California Stop,” describes an instance when a vehicle does not come to a complete halt at a stop sign or red traffic signal before proceeding across the intersection. Instead, the vehicle slows to a crawl and enters the intersection.

The term “rolling” is used because the vehicle’s wheels never fully stop moving.

"California Stop" at Stop Sign

Although the vehicle’s speed at this point is typically below five mph, it’s still considered a traffic violation because the vehicle hasn’t made a complete stop and still has a forward velocity above 0 mph.

Is a Rolling Stop Legal?

No, rolling stops are never allowed for motor vehicles in the United States.

The traffic laws are clear: rolling stops are illegal for motor vehicles and constitute a moving violation.

Every state has laws mandating that vehicles come to a complete stop at a stop sign, meaning that vehicles must halt entirely, with no forward momentum before proceeding.

This rule applies regardless of whether other vehicles or pedestrians are in sight at an intersection.

Driver in car rushing and making rolling stop at stop sign
Express Legal Funding is not affiliated with, connected to, or associated with the Mercedes-Benz Group.

The penalties for moving violations vary from state to state, but the law is uniform across the country in requiring cars, trucks, and motorcycles to come to a complete stop when a stop sign or flashing red traffic light is present.

Why Do People Do Rolling Stops?

Understanding why people perform rolling stops can provide insight into this widespread behavior among motorists.

Driver Impatience

The most common reason people roll past stop signs is the perception of saving time by people who are in a rush.

Car accident from ran stop sign

Although not allowed, many drivers are less apt to fully stop at a stop sign or flashing red light if there’s no other traffic in sight since they are not worried about getting into a collision with another motor vehicle.

They assume they are the only driver on the road.

Confusion Between Stop Signs and Yield Signs

Another factor is the common misconception about traffic rules. Some drivers assume that stop signs function like yield signs when no other vehicles or pedestrians are present.

Yield sign on road

However, unlike a yield sign, where drivers can proceed without stopping if the coast is clear, a stop sign requires drivers to make a complete stop every time.

How Long Do You Have To Stop At a Stop Sign?

There is no specific duration or number of seconds required for a car or motorcycle to be considered making a complete stop at a stop sign.

Instead of being defined by a specific timeframe, it is based on the vehicle’s motion.

A vehicle must reach a state of “complete cessation” from movement.

Stop sign at intersection roadway

In practical terms, a complete stop means the wheels must stop turning, and the vehicle remains stationary without any forward motion long enough at the correct location (stop line) to be noticeable for it to qualify as coming to a complete stop.

After stopping completely, drivers must wait until they have the right of way to proceed.

Still, drivers should always scan the area for other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians and only cross when it’s safe and is not at risk of a collision.

Why Are Rolling Stops Dangerous?

Rolling stops pose significant dangers to all road users, including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Rolling Stop Car Accident Danger

The following are some reasons why rolling stops are so dangerous:

  • Lack of Awareness: When a driver performs a rolling stop, they have a higher chance of failing to properly assess an intersection’s circumstances before proceeding across.
    This lack of awareness can lead to collisions with unsuspecting drivers in other cars as well as pedestrians traversing crosswalks, as they expect all drivers with stop signs to make complete stops.
  • Potential for Increased Speed: Stop signs are a way to manage the overall speeds of cars. However, drivers who continually make rolling stops are likely to gradually increase their speed when approaching stop signs, escalating the risk of accidents.
    This is especially the case in neighborhoods where most intersections use stop signs and are not controlled by traffic light systems.
  • Reduced Reaction Time: Rolling stops decrease the time available to respond to unexpected hazards. A full stop allows drivers to thoroughly survey their surroundings for any potential dangers before proceeding.
  • Pedestrian Threat: Rolling stops pose a significant threat to pedestrians, especially children, crossing at intersections.
    Even a vehicle that is going at a moderate speed and fails to make a complete stop at an intersection can lead to severe and fatal car accidents.

How Much Is a Rolling Stop Ticket?

You can expect a rolling stop ticket to cost you between $60 and $350, including court costs.

The exact cost of a rolling stop ticket stop will vary by state, depending on the local jurisdiction, the circumstances of the cited infraction, and whether you have previous traffic offenses on your driving record.

Police officer giving a driver rolling stop ticket

Unlike DUI or DWI crimes, a rolling stop is considered a non-criminal traffic violation in most states, which can result in a fine and points added to your driver’s license and can cause your auto insurance premium to increase.

Your driving privileges can be revoked if the point total gets high enough.

How To Beat a Rolling Stop Sign Ticket?

The best way to fight and beat a ticket for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign is by hiring a traffic violation lawyer to represent you.

Nowadays, there are attorneys and law firms that specialize in fighting driving citations and have systems in place to make it a streamlined legal defense process.

Typically, these lawyers offer free consultations to potential clients, and many use a variant of the no-win, no-pay arrangement.

Defenses For Stop Sign Violations

Some of the possible legal defense arguments for getting a stop sign ticket dismissed include:

  • View of the stop sign was obstructed: The stop sign was not completely visible because something was blocking it, and therefore, it was not your fault that you failed to come to a complete stop before entering the intersection.
  • Prove eyewitness testimony is faulty: Finding holes in and discrediting the testimony of the officer who issued the citation.
  • Lack of jurisdiction: The court does not have jurisdiction over the case since the stop sign was in a private parking lot, and traffic laws were unenforceable when the ticket was given (not a valid argument in some states).

Can You Make Rolling Stops In Parking Lots?

While failing to stop in a private parking lot or garage is a non-enforceable traffic violation in many states, making rolling stops is not advised.

Rolling stop sign in private parking lot garage

Given the close proximity of other vehicles and pedestrians in parking lots, rolling stops can lead to accidents.

Moreover, although some states like Texas treat parking lots as private property, they also treat parking areas that are open to the public as public roadways and standard reportable traffic laws apply.

It Is Illegal To Run or Roll Past Stop Signs In Parking Lots In Texas

Performing a running or rolling stop in a parking lot in Texas can result in police issuing a ticket for failing to come to a complete stop, just like not stopping at a sign-controlled four-way intersection is a ticketable offense.

Similarly, in some states like Florida, people who own private property like shopping centers can make deals with law enforcement, permitting authorities to issue citations for careless driving violations like rolling stops in their private parking lots with the goal of keeping customers safe and out of harm’s way.

Car making rolling stop in parking lot

Ultimately, you should take the approach that you can get a ticket for a rolling stop in a parking lot, as doing so makes parking lots safer to traverse for pedestrians entering and exiting stores.

Idaho Stop Law [Infographic]

Idaho Stop Law By State Infographic and Map. A stop sign is treated like a yield sign for cyclists. A red light is treated like a stop sign for cyclists.

“Idaho Stop” is the informal name for laws that permit bicycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs and red traffic lights as stop signs.

This law, first passed in Idaho in 1982, permits cyclists to proceed through an intersection without coming to a complete stop, provided it’s safe to do so.

Studies have shown that this bicycle-friendly law has reduced bike crashes in Idaho.

The five “Idaho Stop” states that have adopted these laws include:

Stop-as-yield and Red-light-as-stop Laws For Bicyclists States

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Oklahoma

Seven states have adopted bike-friendly “Delaware Yield” laws allowing bicyclists to perform rolling stops at stop signs but still legally require bicyclists to treat red traffic lights the same way as cars do (wait for traffic signals to turn green), including:

Stop-as-yield Law For Bicyclists States

  • Delaware
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Washington, DC

"Delaware Yield" Bicycle rolling stop at stop sign

Tips For Avoiding Rolling Stops

An effective way to ensure you don’t make a rolling stop at an intersection is by glancing at your car or truck’s speedometer and not accelerating until after you see it display 0 mph.

You can also choose to install a windshield-projected heads-up display to make it easier to track how fast your car is going and not to proceed past stop signs before coming to a complete standstill.

A growing number of the top car makers offer heads-up displays as a factory-installed option.

So, if you are in the market for a car or truck and are concerned about failing to come to a complete stop at stop signs, this add-on feature is worth considering.

In Conclusion On Rolling Stops and Stop Sign Laws

As we wrap up our discussion on rolling stops, it’s clear that this seemingly minor traffic violation can have significant repercussions.

From the increased risk of accidents and injuries to the potential for stiff penalties and points on your driving record, the potential consequences of failing to make a complete stop at stop signs or flashing red lights are not trivial.

The few seconds that can be saved by rolling through a stop sign are never worth the potential loss of life.

Lastly, we want to share details about who we are and how we help clients at Express Legal Funding, as it fits with the theme of this article.

Pre-settlement Funding For Stop Sign Car Accident Cases

We are a pre-settlement funding company. That means we provide non-recourse cash advances to injured and damaged claimants suing another party for harm inflicted upon them.

The majority of our clients are victims of car accident collisions resulting from an at-fault motorist driving districted and committing traffic violations, including rolling stops.

The injuries and financial loss they have to deal with after a car accident are what necessitate them to pursue a civil claim against the liable party. They need to sue someone for financial compensation.

However, the issue is these claims can take many months to even a few years to resolve, and it is a tall order to ask injured victims to wait to be paid for the loss, which was someone else’s fault.

This critical financial hardship is why our pre-settlement advance funding service is so needed and is where we can come in to provide relief.

Express Legal Funding helps plaintiffs needing immediate funds who cannot afford to wait for a payout until after their cases end by providing them with non-recourse advances in exchange for a portion of their potential case proceeds.

The funding is not a loan, which means if the worst comes to worse and you lose your case, you don’t have to pay us back any of the money you obtained from us.

(Please note that in some states, the financing we can provide is a lawsuit loan and is technically, by law, not non-recourse.)

If this sounds similar to the situation you and your loved ones are facing, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or apply online anytime, 24/7, for the best in pre-settlement funding money help nationwide.

We have funding intake specialists standing by who are ready to take your call.

About the Author

Author profile

Aaron Winston is the Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding. As "The Legal Funding Expert," Aaron has more than ten years of experience in the consumer finance industry. Most of which was as a consultant to a top financial advisory firm, managing 400+ million USD in client wealth. He is recognized as an expert author and researcher across multiple SEO industries.
Aaron Winston earned his title "The Legal Funding Expert" through authoritative articles and blog posts about legal funding. He specializes in expert content writing for pre-settlement funding and law firm blogs.
Each month, tens of thousands of web visitors read his articles and posts. Aaron's thoroughly researched guides are among the most-read lawsuit funding articles over the past year.
As Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding, Aaron has devoted thousands of hours to advocating for the consumer. His "it factor" is that he is a tireless and inventive thought leader who has made great strides by conveying his legal knowledge and diverse expertise to the public. More clients and lawyers understand the facts about pre-settlement funding because of Aaron's legal and financial service SEO mastery.
Aaron Winston is the author of A Word For The Wise. A Warning For The Stupid. Canons of Conduct, which is a book in poetry format. It consists of 35 unique canons. The book was published in 2023.
He keeps an academic approach to business that improves the consumer's well-being. In early 2022, Aaron gained the Search Engine Optimization and the Google Ads LinkedIn skills assessment badges. He placed in the top 5% of those who took the SEO skills test assessment.
Aaron's company slogans and lawsuit funding company name are registered trademarks of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He has gained positive notoriety via interviews and case studies, which are a byproduct of his successes. Aaron R. Winston was featured in a smith.ai interview (2021) and a company growth case study (2022).
In 2023, Aaron and Express Legal Funding received accolades in a leading SEO author case study performed by the leading professionals at WordLift. The in-depth data presented in the pre-settlement funding SEO case study demonstrate why Aaron Winston maintains a high-author E-E-A-T. His original writing and helpful content continue to achieve unprecedented success and stand in their own class.

Aaron was born in Lubbock, TX, where he spent the first eight years of his life. Aaron attended Akiba Academy of Dallas, TX.

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