Q #138: Why do some folks at a stop light stop a full car length (or more) away from the painted stop line?

This is one of my biggest puzzlements (and occasional pet peeve) that I’ve seen when driving around. I understand keeping a car length of distance if you’ve been taught that for safety when you are behind a vehicle, and maybe about two or three feet at a stop light in case someone rear ends you or something so you have movement room without ending up in the middle of the intersection.

But I can’t understand this scenario: you are at a stop light, stopped where you’re supposed to be with the front bumper near about the white line. A car pulls to a stop almost next to you. But actually, they stop more than a car length behind where the white line is. And they sit there. If someone wanted to be a total a-hole, they probably could’ve squeezed between our vehicles and taken the front of the line spot (I’ve seen the gap that big, and that happened when I was in line once–scary).

Or, you have the one that comes to a complete stop at that distance and then spends the next thirty seconds slowly creeping up 10 feet. It’s something to see the pissed off looks of the drivers behind them as they have to creep along, too.

I mean, I can understand newbie drivers, babies who just got their licenses being extra careful. But when you have somebody who looks like they may have had many years behind the wheel, it just seems silly. That gradual creep-up thing pisses people off in my neck of the woods.

Now, again, I get when someone’s leaving a few feet in front of them for safety (a car-length or more, though, seems a bit excessive). And there’s the thing that when the light turns green, you can take your foot off the brake and roll til the first car gets far enough ahead for the gas, just in case they have to suddenly brake and you won’t hit them.

But when you’re the first car in line at the traffic light, and you’re over a car-length behind the stop line…why? You have to go when the light turns green anyway, and you’re not waiting for a car to go first in your own lane, right? So what’s the deal?

This is just majorly annoying because it makes me wonder if the person has visibility issues, which adds to the stress and makes me want to get away from them. I was in the left turn lane behind a man in a truck one time; he stopped so far from the white line that he apparently didn’t trip the sensor. The lights all changed three times before I got out of there in frustration and left that turn lane to get into main traffic, crossed the intersection, took the first left onto a side road that I could, and used that to get back to the main drag and on my way.

So, you know anybody who does that complete stop a whole car-length away from the light thing? I’m just curious if you’ve done it yourself or had to ride with them, or had something happen when someone did that while you were driving.

Floor’s yours…

Thanks, Austin Powers… looks slower than that every time I see it on the road.

2 thoughts on “Q #138: Why do some folks at a stop light stop a full car length (or more) away from the painted stop line?

  1. bobcabkings says:

    I had not noticed this, but now I will. Maybe some people really aren’t sure where the front of their car is? I do a lot of walking where there are no sidewalks. I see many drivers who are on the same side of the road swing all the way over into the other lane, across the yellow lines, even when I am well on the shoulder, even on a blind curve or a hill. I guess they also aren’t sure where the passenger side of their car is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul says:

    I seen this plenty of times, and I’ve often wondered about the logic. I have no idea why people do this, and it doesn’t seem to be gender specific. I hate it most when I’m the next car back and we’re like so far from the damned light…WTF! The closest I’ve come to figuring it out is that people who don’t pull up to the white line are scared of the green light traffic. Maybe they think they need to be as far back as possible. Or maybe they’re just blind. I don’t know. It’s weird. :-/

    Liked by 1 person

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