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Minnesota Road Rules (Everything You Should Know)

Minnesota Road Rules (Everything You Should Know)

Road rules…

There are a lot of them out there. 

In Minnesota alone, there are rules on distracted driving, car seats, parking, sharing the road, and so much more. 

And if you don’t follow these rules, you will face fines and penalties. 

But how can you follow the rules if you don’t know them?

Well, we’ve got you covered. 

Here, we’re going to tell you everything you should know about Minnesota road rules. 

We’ll look at: 

  • Littering 
  • Car Crashes
  • Wireless communication devices
  • Parking 
  • Sharing the road 

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s begin right away!

Road Rules in Minnesota

For road rules, we’re going to look at: 

  • Littering
  • Car crashes
  • Wireless communication devices
  • Parking

So let’s get into the details. 

Do Not Litter

In Minnesota, it is illegal to throw things from your car — that’s littering.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a street, a roadway, or private and public land — you are not allowed to litter. 

This rule doesn’t simply apply to trash — it also covers offensive or dangerous items, such as cigarettes, fireworks, nails, tacks, or wires. 

Dumping these things on someone else’s property is also prohibited unless the owner gives consent. Leaving these on public land is out of the question.

Car Crashes

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are on the road, you still end up in an accident. Regardless of whose fault it is, you must know what the rules are on what to do.

So keep these in mind if you’re involved in a car crash:

  • Do not leave the scene. If you can still move your car, pull it onto the shoulder and turn off the engine.
  • Put up early warning devices. It’s best to let other drivers know that an accident happened. If you don’t have an EWD, you can use flares or a flashlight as alternatives.
  • Check for injuries or fatalities. Call 911 immediately if anyone needs medical attention.
  • Administer first aid ONLY if you’re certified. If not, do your best to keep the patient comfortable while waiting for first responders to arrive.
  • Prepare the information you’ll need to provide to the other driver or any law enforcement officer present. These include your name, address, and birth date. Be ready to show your car’s registration and insurance documents, too.
  • If you don’t have your insurance information (particularly your carrier and agent), you have 72 hours to give it to a law enforcement officer.
  • You don’t have to notify law enforcement officers if you only damaged someone’s property. However, you must inform the owner if it extends beyond someone’s car.
  • If, after the crash, you can’t move your car, have it towed immediately.

Wireless Communication Devices

Using a communication device to compose, read, or send a message while driving will cost you a sizable fee. Remember that this law doesn’t simply apply to texting — it covers emails, too.

Since electronic messaging is prohibited, you also can’t use instant messaging or access the internet.

Violating this rule two or more times results in a $225 penalty. 

However, using your device’s hands-free mode may exempt you from this rule. Another exemption is if you use your gadget to report an accident, a crash, or a crime.

Parking

Minnesota has many guidelines when it comes to parking your vehicle. When parallel parking, ensure the following:

  • Your wheels aren’t more than a foot away from the curb, with the front wheels turned toward it.
  • Engage the parking brake or put your vehicle in park. Do both if possible.

Not only that, but there also are several places where you can’t park in Minnesota. Here’s a brief list to guide you:

  • On an intersection, crosswalk, or sidewalk.
  • Within 50 feet of a railroad crossing.
  • Within 30 feet of a stop sign, a traffic signal on a public road, or any flashing light.
  • Within 20 feet of a crosswalk or an intersection.
  • Within 10 feet of a fire hydrant.
  • Alongside or across an obstruction or excavation site if it’ll obstruct traffic flow.
  • At the street end of the driveway.
  • On a bridge or within a tunnel.
  • In front of mailboxes.
  • Where you can find No Parking signs or yellow-colored curbs.
  • On the opposite side of another parked vehicle, also called double parking. 

Sharing the Road in Minnesota

Minnesota also has road rules when it comes to sharing the road. 

For this, we’ll look at:

  • How to share the road with school buses
  • How to share the road with emergency vehicles
  • How to share the road with pedestrians
  • How to share the road with bicycles
  • How to share the road with motorcycles
  • How to share the road with commercial vehicles 

Let’s explore each of them in detail.

Sharing the Road with School Buses

You’ll need to watch out for school buses, especially if you see them flashing yellow or red lights.

What do yellow lights mean?

School buses activate their yellow lights when approaching a school zone. You cannot pass a school bus on the right if it’s flashing yellow lights.

And what do red lights mean?

A school bus flashes red lights when loading or unloading students. You’ll usually see it with its stop arm extended.

In these situations, you must stop at least 20 feet away from it and can only continue once the bus has stopped flashing its red lights and retracted its arm.

Violating these rules can have significant consequences. Besides paying a fine of at least $500, you might also lose your driving privileges and have a misdemeanor on your record.

Sharing the Road with Emergency Vehicles

Now and then, you will have to share the road with various emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. 

If so, you must pull over to the right and stop if it’s flashing its lights and sounding a siren on a two-way road. However, if there’s only one lane, pull over to the side that’s nearest you.

You also have to stop if you are within an intersection, but make sure to pass through it first. You can only start moving again once all emergency vehicles have passed.

Remember, you don’t have to yield if the emergency vehicle is on the opposite lane and a physical barrier, like a wall or a median strip, separates your lanes.

Sharing the Road with Pedestrians

Other vehicles aren’t the only ones to look out for when driving on Minnesota’s roadways — you also need to watch out for pedestrians.

Pedestrians always have the right-of-way at intersections and crosswalks. If someone is crossing, you must wait until they pass your lane before proceeding.

You cannot pass a vehicle that stopped for a pedestrian. If you’re approaching a crosswalk and the car in front of you stops, look for people crossing.

Minnesota takes violations of pedestrian right-of-way laws seriously. A first offense is a misdemeanor, while a second one is a gross misdemeanor.

Sharing the Road with Bicycles 

Not all vehicles you share the road with have four wheels. Sometimes, it only has two and doesn’t even have an engine.

Bicycles are legal vehicles in the state, so you’ll commonly see them on roads. Although there are specific bicycle laws for cyclists, they have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers.

Cyclists have designated lanes, which means you can’t use these except in the following situations:

  • You’re parking (and it’s allowed)
  • You’re entering or leaving a road
  • You’re preparing to make a turn

Always ensure it’s safe to cross a bicycle lane before doing so. If there is an approaching cyclist, you must yield the right-of-way. Once clear, you can take the turn but always signal your intention before proceeding.

What’s more, you’ll need to use more caution when passing a bicycle than a car. Minnesota law requires you to keep at least three feet between you. 

You must also make sure that the cyclist isn’t about to turn left when you pass. Otherwise, they might crash into you.

Passing a cyclist is one instance where you can cross the roadway’s center even if it’s a no-passing zone.

Sharing the Road with Motorcycles 

Another two-wheel vehicle that you may encounter is a motorcycle. Typically, riders follow the same rules as cyclists and aren’t allowed on sidewalks, freeways, and pedestrian or bicycle-designated lanes.

However, you must adjust your driving behavior when sharing a road with them. 

Bikes are generally smaller and faster than four-wheel vehicles, so accurately gauging their speed and distance may be more challenging when they’re approaching.

Despite their size, it’s best to give them the same stopping distance as a regular vehicle. Riders tend to weave if they have difficulty controlling their bike, so leave them enough space to do so.

Sometimes, a rider may attempt to pass you. When you see them signal, maintain your speed and stay in your lane until they do.

Don’t attempt to crowd a motorcycle in a lane, even if it looks like you can fit side-by-side. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s also illegal in Minnesota.

Most car-motorcycle crashes happen in urban intersections. The most common cause is drivers who don’t yield the right-of-way to a rider and make left turns in front of one. 

Remember, they don’t have as much protection as drivers in sedans or SUVs. A crash may result in severe injuries and even death.

Sharing the Road with Commercial Vehicles

If you must take precautions when sharing the road with smaller vehicles, the same goes when you see bigger ones on the road. These are typically trucks, trailers, or other commercial vehicles.

Patience is crucial when sharing the road with commercial vehicles. Because of their size, you may need to allot more time and distance.

You usually need an additional three to five seconds when passing a CMV as it’s longer. Gauge your situation carefully — it’s best to have completed the pass and move back into the right lane 100 meters before oncoming traffic.

If you don’t have enough time to do that, a better option is to continue to stay behind the CMV and wait until you reach an exit. It’ll lose speed on an upgrade, making a pass easier. 

However, keep in mind that it moves faster on a downgrade, requiring more distance to complete a pass.

The best time to move back into your lane when passing a CMV is when you can see the entire vehicle in your rearview mirror. Don’t slow down once you switch lanes — it might cause an accident.

If a commercial vehicle attempts to pass you, slow down and stay on the far right of your lane to help him. It’s also the safest place if you encounter a CMV from the opposite direction — it reduces the possibility of wind turbulence between you and a sideswipe crash.

Here are other reminders when sharing the road with CMVs: 

  • Do not cut off a commercial driver when you’re switching lanes.
  • Do not make sudden stops in front of a CMV. Regular vehicles need a stopping distance of 130 to 140 feet when traveling at 55 mph. A truck may need around 400 feet.
  • At night, dim your lights if you’re following a commercial vehicle. These have large side mirrors, and your beams may blind the driver.
  • Keep more space between you and a CMV, especially when it stops. It’s best to allow more distance because it usually rolls back slightly.
  • Do not attempt to pass a CMV if it’s making a wide turn, even if it looks like you have enough time and space to complete it.
  • Avoid staying in one of a CMV’s many blind spots.
Minnesota Road Rules

Conclusion

And there you have it — everything you need to know about the Minnesota road rules. 

Remember, everyone has a right to be on the road, so we must all do our parts to keep us (and everyone around us) safe. And all these road rules will more or less help us do just that. 

Stay safe!

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