Stop / Yield Signs
Many people request stop signs to be installed for the purpose of lowering speeds or improving intersection safety. However, the true purpose of a stop sign is solely to assign right-of-way at an intersection. Information gathered by the department of transportation has shown that stop signs do not reduce speed. As such, when stop signs are installed strictly for the purpose of slowing traffic, the speeds are reduced in the vicinity of the stop sign, but tend to be higher between the intersections as drivers try to make up for delays. The overuse of stop signs may cause general contempt for all traffic control devices, often with tragic consequences. Additionally, installing a traffic signal at a low-volume intersection can significantly increase crashes and delays.
Types of Stops
There are two types of stop conditions at any intersection: Two-way Stop (only the minor street is stopped); and Multi-way Stop (both streets, i.e. all four legs, are required to stop). Stop signs should not be viewed as a cure-all for solving all traffic safety problems, but when used properly stop signs are a useful traffic control device, and enhance safety for all roadway users.
Too many signs can lead to ineffectiveness. Motorists often become careless about stopping when stop signs are placed at intersections where they are not really needed. Installing traffic signs where they are not needed can also create traffic congestion, add travel time, and frustrate drivers, and these drivers may become impatient and make unsafe maneuvers.
The use of signs and signals should be restricted to locations where they will be effective. Signs and signals are only effective and should only be used when they meet the following four requirements:
- Fulfill a need
- Convey a clear, simple meaning
- Command attention and respect
- Give adequate time for drivers to respond
Federal & State Guidelines
The Village of Hanover Park is required by law to comply with Federal and State guidelines when installing traffic control devices such as stop signs. For example, multi-way stop signs are installed at an intersection only after a Traffic Engineering study is completed which considers accident history, traffic volumes, speed of traffic, and sign distance problems. The Village of Hanover Park abides by the warrants for placement of traffic control signals as defined by the Illinois Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
In Illinois, the following warrants must be met prior to installation of a Two-way stop sign:
- The intersection of a less important road with a main road where application of the normal right-of-way rule is unduly hazardous.
- Street entering a through highway or street
- An un-signalized intersection in a signalized area.
- Other intersections where a combination of high speed, restricted view, and serious accident record (defined by 5 or more collisions within a 12 month period) indicates a need for control by a stop sign.
The following warrants must be met prior to the installation of a Multi-way stop sign:
- Where traffic signals are going to be placed soon and the intersection needs a temporary solution to control the traffic.
- An intersection that has several crashes (5 or more correctable collisions in 12 months).
- When an intersection has the following traffic volumes:
- The total volume of traffic entering the intersection from all approaches must average at least 500 vehicles per hour for any eight hours of an average day.
- The combined vehicular and pedestrian volume that enters the intersection from the minor street must average at least 200 units per hour for the same eight hours, with an average delay to the minor street traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the maximum hour.
- The 85th percentile approach speed (this is the speed at or below which 85% of the vehicles travel on a given roadway) of the major street traffic exceeds 40 miles per hour, and the minimum vehicular volume warrant is 70% of the above requirements.
The following warrants must be met prior to the installation of a Yield sign:
- On a minor road at the entrance to an intersection where it is necessary to assign right- of-way to the major road, but where a stop sign is not necessary at all times, and where the safe approach speed on the minor road exceeds 10 miles per hour.
- On the entrance ramp to an expressway where an acceleration ramp is not provided.
- Within an intersection with a divided highway, where a STOP sign is present at the entrance to the first roadway and further control is necessary at the entrance between the two roadways, and where the median width between the acceleration lane.
- At an intersection where a special problem exists and where an engineering study indicates the problem to be susceptible to correction by use of the Yield sign.
There are also locations where the use of stop signs should be avoided. Every time a stop sign is considered, a less restrictive method such as a yield sign should first be considered. Traffic accidents could be reduced, in some cases, with simple measures like improving visibility by prohibiting parking close to the intersection. You may reference the Manual for Uniform Traffic Standards for more information. If you have any other questions, please contact the Strategic Enforcement and Prevention Unit at 630-823-5481.