State law requires a full stop before any marked stop line. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

State law requires a full stop before any marked stop line. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Where are you supposed to stop at a stop sign?

Cars should be behind a marked line. But overgrown vegetation and worn-out lines muddy the rule.

You’re driving along and come to a stop sign. Where do you stop?

It seems like a basic question with a basic answer. But the added how-to’s surfaced after I fielded two recent phone calls. Two readers, from different cities, had concerns about close calls at separate intersections with visibility issues — one with overgrown vegetation and the other with construction activity.

Until the vines are cut back and the construction is done, what can you legally do?

State law requires a full stop before any marked stop line. If there’s no painted stop line, then stop before any marked crosswalk. And if there’s no paint at all, then basically stop at the spot where either of those might be.

OK, a stop sign means stop. Got it. But what about these situations where you still can’t see oncoming traffic?

For that, we have to turn to the Washington Driver Guide.

“If you were stopped and your view of a cross street is blocked, edge forward slowly until you can see,” the manual reads. “By moving forward slowly, crossing drivers can see the front of your vehicle before you can see them. This gives them a chance to slow down and warn you if needed.”

Melissa Slager

Melissa Slager

I’m stopping

I’m getting out of the driver’s seat.

After more than four years of Street Smarts columns, I’m hitting the road to work on other writing projects.

I’ve been at The Herald for the better part of 14 years, initially coming to work with Eric Stevick on the education team. There have been lots of stories I’ve enjoyed reporting over those years. But Street Smarts has definitely been a highlight, and that’s thanks in large part to you readers. I appreciate all the questions, gripes and observations you’ve shared. I hope you’ve enjoyed all my detours.

Street Smarts has a long history in The Herald, starting with Bob Wodnik in 1999. I’m just the latest ride-share driver. You’ll be glad to know the column isn’t going away. It will just tune the dial to a new voice.

Enjoy the drive ahead …

If you’d like to keep in touch, or if you like historical fiction, head over to www.melissaslager.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Reader: Are developers responsible for repairing roads?

Development sites have requirements. Paving season is underway in unincorporated Snohomish County.

Everett Community College (Sue Misao / The Herald)
After backlash, Trump rescinds rule on foreign students

The proposal, which would have forced foreign students to attend classes in person, stirred alarm on local college campuses.

Inslee extends pause on counties advancing phases to July 28

Locally, leaders worry a spike in cases could cause hospitalizations and deaths to rise soon.

Eviction moratorium uncertainty means preparing for anything

Landlords and housing advocates work to keep a roof over the heads of Snohomish County’s renters.

Police find, rescue Shoreline man trapped in Edmonds ravine

Someone heard cries for help near a forested hillside near Marina Beach. He was there two days.

One dead, three hospitalized after Highway 522 crash

An East Wenatchee woman died after a head-on collision Saturday night in Monroe.

Want to save $357 a year? 50% more PUD customers now qualify

The new program expands eligibility for discounts based on income and household size.

Police: Lake Stevens political sign thief assaults witness

The suspect, 66, removed signs of two Black candidates, then attacked a man who confronted him, police said.

Most Read