Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
Home > Drivers and Vehicles > Driver Licensing > Driver's Handbook
Text size Enlarge Text Shrink Text
Search   |  
II. Stop intersection

The approach

This driving task is done at inter­sections where you must come to a stop. It begins at the point where you can see the intersection and ends just before you enter the intersection. Be sure to follow these actions:

Traffic check

Before slowing down, look all around you. Use your mirrors to check traffic behind you.


Steadily reduce speed as you approach the intersection. In a with manual transmission, you may downshift into a lower gear as you slow down. Do not coast with your foot on the clutch pedal.


While slowing down, keep at least a two to three-second distance behind the in front of you.

The stop

This driving task includes the actions you take while stopped and waiting to move through the intersection. Remember these points:


Come to a complete stop. Do not let your roll forward or backward. When traffic conditions allow, move forward to check that the way is clear or start across the intersection. If you have to stop after you have passed the stop line, do not back up.


When stopped behind another at the intersection, leave enough space to pull out and pass without having to back up. Leaving this space protects you in three ways: it lets you pull around the in front if it stalls; it helps prevent you from being pushed into the ahead if you are hit from behind; and it reduces the risk of collision if the ahead rolls backward or backs up.

Stop line

If you are the first approaching an intersection with a red light or stop sign, stop behind the stop line if it is marked on the pavement. If there is no stop line, stop at the crosswalk, marked or not. If there is no crosswalk, stop at the edge of the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, stop at the edge of the intersection.

Driving through

This task includes the actions you take as you drive through the intersection and return to normal traffic speed. Make sure to follow these actions:

Traffic check

If you are stopped, waiting for a green light or for the way to be clear, keep checking traffic all around you. Just before entering the intersection, look left, ahead and right to check that the way is clear. If there is any doubt about the right-of-way, try to
make eye contact with nearby driv­ers or pedestrians. You have not properly checked traffic if another vehicle or pedestrian has the right-­of-way and must take action to avoid your vehicle.

Both hands

Keep both hands on the steering wheel as you drive through the intersection. You are most at risk from other traffic when you are crossing the intersection. Using both hands on the wheel gives you maximum steering control when you need it most. An exception to this is if you have a disability that prevents you from using both hands.


In a vehicle with manual transmission, do not shift gears crossing the intersection. If you need to, you may shift gears immediately after the vehicle is moving but before it is well into the intersection. You may also shift gears in an intersection wider than four lanes if not doing so would slow down other traffic. Generally, not changing gears gives you more control over your vehicle.

Traffic check

As you return to normal traffic speed, check your mirrors to become aware of the traffic situation after you have gone through the intersection.


Move ahead within four to five seconds after it is safe to start. Return to normal traffic speed by accelerating smoothly to blend with the traffic around you. In light traffic, accelerate moderately. In heavier traffic, you may have to accelerate more quickly. In a vehicle with manual transmission, shift gears as you increase speed.


a controlled intersection

Diagram 6-2-1