Stop Signs

Stop Sign    Stop Sign FAQ

What is the primary reason for stop signs?

The purpose of stop signs is to control the right-of-way assignment at an intersection. Research indicates that stop signs are ineffective at controlling vehicular speeds as that is not their purpose. Signs should be installed only where they are needed.

Stop signs require a complete stop at an intersection. Stop signs are too frequently installed at unwarranted locations, usually under citizen pressure. Such usage leads to disrespect for the sign and promotes the so-called “rolling stop” where the driver merely slows down. Unwarranted stop signs can also cause drivers to divert to nearby streets to avoid the stop signs and speed between stop signs to make up for “lost time”. This type of installation should be avoided.

Why not use stop signs to control speeding?

The City receives regular requests from residents to install stop signs as a speed control measure. Several studies have shown that using stop signs to control speeding does not bring about the desired results. When stop signs are used to slow speeding, drivers tend to increase their speed between signs or intersections to compensate for the lost time due to stopping at a stop sign. Studies also indicate that some drivers will accelerate rapidly after a stop, which exacerbates an already unsafe condition.

What is the City of Lake Forest’s policy for installing stop signs?

The City of Lake Forest complies with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) guidelines. Signs are installed at an intersection only if careful evaluation of the existing conditions indicates their installation is appropriate.

Stop sign location is initially evaluated when streets and subdivisions are built using best traffic engineering practices following MUTCD.

The Traffic Safety Committee reviews requests for new stop signs. It makes the appropriate recommendation only after considering warrants or standards against which all intersections can be evaluated. By applying consistent criteria to all intersections, the Traffic Safety Committee can ensure uniformity of sign placement throughout Lake Forest. Maintaining uniformity helps to preserve the expectation of drivers that all stop signs are important and should command their attention and respect.

The following criteria are considered:

  • Is this an intersection where a combination of speed, restricted view, and reported accident history indicates a need for control by the stop sign?
  • Where accident history indicates three or more reported crashes over the last three years, and the crashes could have been avoided by the use of a stop sign
  • Where circumstances and crash history indicate that observing the normal right-of-way rule could still be hazardous, resulting in traffic accidents.
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