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The Regulations and Uses of Stop Signs

The Regulations and Uses of Stop Signs:

The design of the stop sign was aimed at making drivers aware that they must come to a complete stop and verify the intersection is clear of vehicles, pedestrians, or obstructions before proceeding.


Main uses of stop signs include:

  • To assert the right-of-way at an intersection
  • To prevent collisions in areas with consistent traffic flow and volume (if it's an area with a very high rate, a traffic light may be more effective) 
  • To allow traffic to flow smoothly and predictably
  • In areas where sight distances approaching the intersection are substandard and approaching traffic would run a strong risk of being involved in collisions
  • On a street leading into a through street or highway 
  • Places with high frequencies of car crashes 


Stop signs are considered a regulatory sign because they give notice of traffic laws or regulations. Regulatory signs have federal and state regulations they must comply with. MUTCD is the standardized source for the development and design of highway signs and pavement markings. MUTCD are precisely designed in vector file format for the best print quality and cutting. All roadway and highway signs must match the color specifications the MUTCD manual requires. The MUTCD Certified Complete Digital Edition has all compliant fonts and color requirements, learn more about the MUTCD traffic software here.



Stop Sign Requirements

There are certain requirements for a stop sign like the size of a stop sign and where it is being installed. The size requirements are:

  • 18” stop signs can be found on bikeways and shared-use pathways
  • 24” stop signs are used primarily in parking lots and on private roads
  • 30” stop signs are the minimum size requirement for official roadways and are required for single and conventional roadways
  • 36” stop signs are required when in place at a multi-lane approach, for dangerous intersections, and on expressways
  • 48” stop signs are used in situations that require an “over sized” stop sign where speed, volume, or other factors require the need for increased visibility


All-way and 4-way signs are often purchased along with stop signs in areas where there are safety concerns associated with pedestrians, bicyclists, and all road users expecting other road users to stop. Often found at intersections or where a road doesn't have a traffic light, stop signs are one of the most important and significant road traffic signs there is. 

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