The first car stops at the stops sign line and then pulls up to the edge of the road at an intersection. The second car stops at the stop sign line behind the first car. When the traffic is clear is it legal for both cars to depart at the same time?

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  • Do you mean two cars, one behind the other? And the stop sign is not at the intersection? Which jurisdictions are you interested in? Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 20:51
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    I'm not saying this is impossible in the UK, but it would be very unsual. Stop (or more commonly, Give Way) signs, along with the white lines on the road, are normally right at the edge of the junction. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 22:30
  • Why did the first car stop a second time?
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 13:24
  • @Brandin the first car stopped a second time. The second car only once.
    – Muze
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 16:55
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    @Muze Why? The first car does not need to stop a second time. You should consider what to do if the first car had not been there at all. On the other hand, if the first car stopped a second time because there was an obstruction, then that is important information to consider.
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 5:13

5 Answers 5


The second car must keep a safe distance at all times.

As long as the cars are both standing still, "safe distance" is a very short distance. If both cars started moving simultaneously and accelerated at the same rate, by the time they reach 10mph that distance will not be safe anymore.

So the second car could technically leave at the exact same time, but would have to accelerate at a much lower rate to keep a safe distance at all times.


When the traffic is clear is it legal for both cars to depart at the same time legally?

Jurisdiction could be relevant because it is conceivable that some countries might have a law or convention in place that determines who has the right of way in that scenario.

Absent any such rule, a driver's entitlement to depart at the same time as others is superseded by the criterion of whether doing so is "careful and prudent" under the conditions of that moment and/or place. For instance, traffic might be clear, but departing at the same time might be a risky or bad idea if roads are icy.


I do this all the time in Ohio. Ohio code 4511.43(A) reads...

Except when directed to proceed by a law enforcement officer, every driver of a vehicle or trackless trolley approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways.

The first sentence says you must stop at the line. The second line says you have to yield the right-of-way to vehicles in the intersection after stopping.

Therefore I believe it is legal to follow the leading car immediately as long as you don't run into them.

However, I would not follow them immediately if it were a 4-way stop. I think it would be too confusing for the other drivers.

CAUTION: You might still get a ticket even if it's technically legal. A police officer might not notice where the stop line is. I advise you to use a dash cam for protection.

  • Well, someone down-voted my answer. I'm not sure what the alternative is to following car A immediately. Should car B be required to pull forward and stop where car A stopped? Should car B be required to stay stopped for some period of time after car A leaves? If so, for how long?
    – James
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 15:05
  • i up voted it...
    – Muze
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 16:52

So there is a situation on a road I frequent where there is a stop sign intersection that crosses an almost immediate stop light on the other side of the straight. In this jurisdiction, right on Red when traffic is cleared is legal, so normally, Car A will pull forward of the stop sign and wait for right hand turn, while car B will remain at the stop sign if until A makes the right turn or wait for the light to become green to make a left or straight.


You must stop at the stop sign - stopping behind a car that is stopped at the sign is not stopping at the stop sign.

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    The 2nd car is at the stop sign. The first car has moved up to the cross-street, beyond the stop sign.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 16:19

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