Posted by: Becka | March 14, 2013

California Stop

A couple of weeks ago, I was hanging out with my mother-in-law.  She asked me what a “California Stop” was.  This question kinda surprised me.  First of all, being from California, I’ve heard this phrase many, many times in my life.  I’ve even practiced a few California Stops.  However, I didn’t realize it was known as a California Stop throughout the entire country.  I’ve learned not to assume that things I’ve done, or known about in California are common knowledge in other places (such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Delaware).  Since I operate on this mindset, I was surprised.

While at a doctor’s appointment, my mother-in-law overheard two women talking about a ticket one of them received and how the officer had teased her about doing a “California Stop.”  The lady who received the ticket was explaining to her friend what it is.

I was able to explain to my mother-in-law that a California Stop was basically a rolling stop (which she had already guessed), a non-stop, if you will.  Then I got curious.  Is it known as a California Stop throughout the entire country?

“Trusty” Wikipedia came through for me:

“In all countries, the driver must come to a complete stop at a stop sign, even if no other vehicle or pedestrian is visible. However, some drivers practice a maneuver called a rolling stop or nicknamed after a city or region regarded as somewhere it is commonplace (e.g., “Rhode Island roll” or “California stop”) – slowing down significantly but not stopping completely at the sign. This partial stop is not acceptable to most law enforcement officials, and can result in a traffic citation.”

So, there you have it.  Whether you call it a “rolling stop,” “California stop,” a “Rhode Island roll,” or something else all together, you just might get cited for it.  🙂



  1. We should call ours the Delaware Drift 🙂

    • hahah! That’s awesome, Robyn!

  2. I called it a California stop once in WI and Adam and whoever else was with us made fun of me for calling it that and said that “everyone” does it, not just California. But then again he was wrong about a lot of things so this doesn’t surprise me 😛

    • Experiences like yours are why I was surprised to hear other people calling it that! 🙂

  3. Hahahahahaaa!!! Loved Wikipedia’s “This partial stop is not acceptable to most law enforcement officials” Most? Hahahaa. Robyn’s comment craked me up too!!

    • I know, right? Hopefully if I ever get “caught,” it will be by a law enforcement official that does not fall in the “most” category. lol I mean, psh, I never do that.

      • Haha – when I was with Jon we did some “stop sign” enforcement – although he was nice and let almost everyone go with a warning. So you just have to get a nice one I guess. =)

      • I did that all the time driving stick, pretty much bc I would stall if I came to a complete stop. Then it just became habit.

        • lol Uh oh. I actually was better at stopping all the way when I drove a stick. It’s better for starting back up in first gear. lol

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