Ohio's driving laws are carefully explained in the Ohio Motor Vehicle Digest. Included in this digest is the law concerning four-way stop signs. These laws are put in place to make commuters safer by lessening the number of traffic accidents caused by inattentive or hasty drivers. However, specific laws govern four-way stops school buses and emergency vehicles are involved.
4-Way Stop Signs: Signage and Placement
All four-way stop signs in Ohio are required to meet the federal standards for such signage wherever the signs are found. When two roads intersect and traffic from all four directions is required to stop, four-way stop signs shall be placed on each side of the two roads. The signs must be placed on the side of the road to the right of each of the four drivers. Four-way stop signs must have a rectangular "4-way" sign affixed under the octagonal sign for each of the four stop signs.
4-Way Stopping Protocol
In Ohio, regardless of whether the intersection is a four-way stop or not, drivers must stop at the horizontal white line or crosswalk in front of the stop sign, if such a line or crosswalk is present. If no line or crosswalk is present, then the driver's best judgment and caution should be used. At a four-way stop, the drivers proceed in the order that they arrived at the intersection. Drivers must again use the best judgment in determining this order. Each driver must come to a full stop at the intersection, then proceed only after allowing any pedestrians to cross safely on all sides. Bicyclists are also expected to follow the same rules as drivers at four-way stops.
Other 4-Way Stopping Laws
If a school bus is on either side of a four-way stop intersection and the bus puts out its attached stop sign, drivers are required to obey the bus's stop sign in lieu of the traditional rules and allow all pedestrians to cross safely. If a police or emergency vehicle has its emergency lights on and its siren blaring, drivers must abandon traditional rules and quickly but safely move to the sides of the roads to allow the vehicle to pass.
Violations and Penalties
Drivers who fail to stop or commit any other violation at a four-way stop commit a minor misdemeanor can be penalized by a fine or stiffer punishment if it is a repeat offense. Drivers who fail to stop for a school bus that has its stop sign out may face a fine and possibly up to four points on the license that could lead to suspension. Bus drivers are allowed to take down the driver's license plate number and report any infractions to the local authorities.
- illuminated stop sign image by leemarusa from Fotolia.com