Signs, signals and traffic rules indicate when a motorist must stop. A motorist should never try to beat a traffic light change. A motorist must be careful even if the light is changing to green (fresh green light). There may be other vehicles coming through or still in the intersection. Most accidents at traffic signals happen in the first few seconds after the light has changed. When a yellow light follows a green light, a motorist must stop before entering the intersection, unless yellow appears when the vehicle is too close to stop safely. If the light changes while a driver is already in the intersection, he/she should go through with caution. Be alert for a stale green light; this is a light that has been green for some time.
Be prepared for it to change to yellow and then red. Slow down and stop accordingly.A motorist must stop:
- At an intersection with a stop sign
- At an intersection with a red light either flashing or illuminated
- At an intersection with a yellow light after a green, unless too close to stop safely
- When a traffic officer orders the vehicle to stop
- When there is a yield sign, and traffic does not permit a safe merge
- When a school bus is picking up or letting off children and/or the red lights are flashing
- When coming from an alley, private driveway or building
- At a bridge span that is about to open for boat traffic
- For a blind pedestrian using a white or metallic walking cane, or a trained guide dog, or a guide dog instructor engaged in instructing a guide dog
- For a pedestrian in a crosswalk or at an intersection
- For a motorized wheelchair or mobility-assistance device in a crosswalk or at an intersection
Single white stop lines show motorists where to stop at stop signs or traffic signals.
A motorist must stop at least 15 feet from railroad crossings when there are flashing lights, ringing bells or flag signals. Descending gates or gates that have already been lowered indicate that a train is coming and a motorist must stop. A motorist should never attempt to cross until the gates have been raised and the lights have stopped flashing (N.J.S.A. 39:4-127.1).
All other commercial motor vehicles:
Some vehicles, such as school buses or vehicles carrying hazardous materials, must always stop at railroad crossings. When driving behind one of these vehicles, a motorist must be prepared to stop, even if signals do not indicate a train is coming (N.J.S.A. 39:4-128).
A motorist should never stop his/her vehicle on railroad tracks. If a vehicle stalls on the tracks, and the motorist sees a train coming, he/she should get out and walk clear of the tracks. Never try to race a train. Most trains need more than a mile to stop, if traveling at 60 mph or more.
School buses are equipped with yellow (or amber) and red flashing lights. The yellow (or amber) lights go on before the bus stops, and the red lights go on when it has stopped. However, a motorist should not depend on these lights, if driving behind a school bus. They may be malfunctioning.
When a bus stops, all motorists traveling behind or approaching it must stop their vehicles at least 25 feet away. A motorist should only proceed after the bus signals have been turned off, and even then, he/she must watch for children.
If a school bus has stopped directly in front of a school to pick up or let off children, a motorist may pass from either direction at a speed of no more than 10 mph.
- Yield the right-of-way to any person who is crossing the roadway to or from the truck.
- Watch out for children and be prepared to stop.
- Stop, then drive past the truck at a slow speed of no more than 15 mph.
A motorist need not stop on a dual highway if he/she is on the other side of a safety island or raised median.
Police cars, fire trucks, ambulances or other emergency vehicles have sirens and red lights. Private vehicles operated by volunteer fire and rescue squad members (with emergency vehicle identification) responding to an emergency call use blue lights. A motorist should never park within 200 feet of a fire department vehicle in service or drive over a fire hose unless directed to do so by a fire, emergency rescue or police official.