Do drivers have to move for MnDOT crews?

Published 8:10 am Thursday, June 3, 2010

Q: I got some grief at coffee because I did not move over for a Minnesota Department of Transportation truck/crew working on the side of the road. Aren’t we supposed to just move over for emergency vehicles?

A. Great question. And timely now that MnDOT is working on the roads a great deal during the nice weather. The same law applies to them as it does for emergency vehicles. I spoke with one of the MnDOT drivers and he, as are your coffee buddies, is concerned. He feels people are not aware that MnDOT workers are included in the law and said they were having some close calls this spring. Their concern is warranted and the safety of these people is paramount.

In 2008, they added the subdivision using the same verbiage as they did for emergency vehicles just adding different types of working vehicles.

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169.18 Subv. 11(c) states: When approaching and passing a freeway service patrol, road maintenance, or construction vehicle [Emergency vehicle included, same verbiage just different subdivision] with its warning lights activated that is parked or otherwise stopped on or next to a street or highway having two lanes in the same direction, the driver of a vehicle shall safely move the vehicle to the lane farthest away from the vehicle, if it is possible to do so.

Obviously safe movement is the key. If you are going to pass roadside workers and their vehicles and cannot move to a farthest most lane because it is full of other vehicles or there isn’t one you must reduce your speed appropriately, so all viewing would think it prudent and safe.

You should never cross a double yellow line when on a two lane, going into unknown oncoming traffic — this would be when you slow enough to ensure the safety of all present. Going into the oncoming traffic lane at anytime is dangerous, especially if the decision is made quickly, so remain in your lane and slow down enough to ensure the safety of all — we do not want you at risk and we do not want to create an addition hazard. Common sense can now take you the rest of the way.

Jacalyn Sticha is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol’s Mankato district. Send questions to: with Ask A Trooper in the subject line.