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What is the proper way to stop at a light or sign to avoid a ticket?

Stopping is one of the basic maneuvers that you make when driving, but many people get it wrong. If an officer sees you not complete a full stop at a stop sign or red light, you could face a traffic ticket. 

Now is a good time to refresh yourself about the rules for stopping. 

Stop line

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, if there is a stop line at the stop sign or traffic light, you must stop before you get to it. You may see people stopping on the line, but this is not correct, and it can obstruct the crosswalk. 

In addition, adhering to this rule will help ensure that you share the road properly with others. Many times a stop line’s placement is in an area where large trucks frequent. Since they need more room to make turns, the stop line placement is back from the intersection to keep traffic from obstructing their ability to turn and to prevent traffic from having to move back to allow room. 


Just as with a stop line, you must stop before a crosswalk. In some cases, there will be both a stop line and crosswalk. In that case, stop before the stop line. If there is no stop line but there is a crosswalk, be sure to stop before it to not obstruct the crosswalk. 

Special situations

Typically, you will always stop at a stop sign or red light, but there are times when you may not have to stop. If there is an officer or other authorized professional directing traffic, you will follow his or her directions and ignore signs and signals.