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Ask the Chief: Stop behind that solid white line

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

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Q: While I was eating lunch at a local restaurant, I observed numerous cars ignoring the solid white line that is located before the crosswalk and stop sign. Could you remind us all what that solid white line means?

A: The solid white line you are referring to is known as an intersection "stop line." The stop line is located at intersections with traffic signals and stop signs to help motorists know where they should safely stop at the intersection.

At this particular intersection (Third and Plum streets), it was very important to stop before the white line because semi-tractor/trailers traveled this roadway when Highway 63 connected with Highway 58/Plum Street, the stop lines provided the additional space for the trailer to make the turn safely. (With bridge construction, this intersection will be rebuilt, and stop lines adjusted to meet the needs of the new intersection).

If your vehicle stops after the white stop line, you are breaking Minnesota Statute 169.06 and 169.30 and may place you at risk of being struck by longer vehicles attempting to make the turn. Stop lines also provide pedestrian safety by identifying where the vehicle should stop to avoid interfering with pedestrians in the crosswalk.

The Minnesota Driver's Manual provides additional information about pavement markings:

• White lines separate lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction.

• A line composed of white dashes indicates that drivers can change lanes in areas where this type of marking is present.

• A line of shorter and thicker white dashes indicates that the lane will end.

• A solid white line indicates that lane changes are discouraged in areas where this type of marking is present.

• Solid white lines also mark crosswalks, stop lines at intersections, parking stalls and the edges of a roadway.

• Double solid white lines indicate that lane changes are prohibited in areas where this type of marking is present.

• A solid white line with a bicycle insignia along the side of the road indicates an area is designated for bicycle traffic only. Bicycles must travel in the same direction as adjacent traffic.


1. Minnesota Statute, #169.06 Signs, Signals and Markings. Located on-line at:

2. Minnesota Statute, #169.30 Designation of Through Highways. Located on-line at:

3. Minnesota Drivers Manual, located on-line at:

Stay aware and stay safe!