3 reasons the ‘California roll’ at stop signs is dangerous

We’ve all seen it before: a vehicle reaches a stop sign but does not come to a stop. Instead, the driver briefly slows down before barrelling through the intersection. It’s called a rolling stop or “California stop,” and people who do it assume it is as safe and responsible as actually coming to a complete stop as required by Louisiana traffic laws.

But a rolling stop is not safe. It is a risky maneuver that puts other drivers, passengers and pedestrians at risk of serious injury in a collision. This danger outweighs the couple of seconds the driver saves in their commute.

Here are three ways a rolling stop can cause a car accident:

  • A driver in the intersecting road with the right of way proceeds into the intersection, not realizing that the other vehicle is not yielding. The two vehicles crash in the middle of the intersection.
  • The driver doing a rolling stop misjudges the space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them that is attempting a right turn. Or the driver is distracted and does not notice there is someone in front of them.
  • A pedestrian or bicyclist enters the crosswalk as the driver approaches. Instead of stopping, the driver tries a rolling stop and hits the person. This is especially possible when the person in the crosswalk is a child and harder to spot from the driver’s seat.

You might think that a low-speed collision like one caused by a driver rolling through a stop sign can’t be dangerous. But any crash can potentially injure someone, especially a pedestrian or cyclist. When those injuries were the result of a driver breaking the law or being negligent, the victim can hold the bad driver accountable for the damage they caused.