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     Minnesota Crazy Driving Behavior
    Transportation: Things that go
    I grew up and learned to drive in Southern California. There you could be shot for ticking off someone sharing the road with you. In my opinion, despite the traffic, Southern Californians have Minnesotans beat for percentage of good drivers. It may be an 80-20 rule everywhere, or perhaps a situation with a few bad apples spoiling it for the rest of us.

    During rush hour before and after work, most traffic flows smoothly. I believ that it is because you have experienced drivers on their regular routes. They understand the typical flow of traffic. But outside these hours, very strange things happen in Minnesota. In this article are some things I have observed.

    1. The MERGE Two lanes down to one -

    Most Minnesotans merge early when faced with a "Lane Ends - Merge" sign. But they start to fume and get bitter about those who wait until the last bit of stripe to merge. Many will not allow a late merger in by hugging the car in front of them. Some will even go so far as to block further progress by straddling both lanes. Ironically, this blocking or obstructing traffic is against the law, while late merging is not. The “take-turn” strategy often referred to as the “zipper” approach is recommended by MNDOT when traffic is congested. In this instance, drivers should use both lanes all the way to the designated merge point and then take turns merging.

    Minnesota drivers are not good at yielding the right of way in general, and anecdotally, the state leads the nation in percentage of accidents caused by Failure to Yield.

    2. The Four Way Stop

    Minnesotans get all frazzled when multiple vehicles halt simultaneously at intersections with ALL or FOUR WAY STOP signs. Don Shelby, a WCCO TV new anchor, described what happens next as, "You go." "No, you go." "NO, YOU GO!" It is some kind of freakish control war, as if to say snootily to the first driver away, "You drive only at my pleasure."

    169.20 Right of Way (b) When two vehicles enter an intersection controlled by stop signs or by blinking red traffic signals requiring drivers or vehicles from any direction to stop before proceeding, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

    3. Ashing a lit cigarette butt out the window

    This is baffling to the casual observer, as it would seem that the usual vehicles from which lit cigs are thrown are equipped with ashtrays for every passenger. We are fortunate in this state to have an abundance of water to extinguish these randomly thrown butts. Also we have vegetation to hide the refuse. Maybe these folks figure they are helping the environment. When you see this behavior at night, there is a spectacular flare like a sparkler. The funny thing is that every year someone has a lit cigarette blow back in their window and ignite some back seat trash.

    169.42 Subdivision 1: Littering; dropping object on vehicle; misdemeanor. (The World is Not your ashtray)

    4. Merging from the Freeway on ramp or, the Deadly Cloverleaf

    Minnesotans will stop at the bottom of the cloverleaf or acceleration ramp and wait for traffic to clear. This is most commonly seen in the Metro Twin Cities on a cloverleaf of Highway 7 at Highway 100. And rightly so, there is very little acceleration lane, or cars cross into it to exit. This is annoying, but it is the law. It is hard to take though on larger cloverleaf ramps like 494 and 35W where there is plenty of room to get up to speed. Knowing that people yield on cloverleaf intersections, many drivers will enter the acceleration lane from the shoulder before it is striped.

    169.20 Subd. 4. Vehicle entering roadway. The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a roadway from any place other than a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on the roadway to be entered or crossed.

    5. Poking along in the inside lane (number 1) of a four or more lane freeway - Is it for passing only?

    There are many self-righteous Minnesotans who take the attitude, "I am enforcing the speed limit - even if it kills me." This is against the law in Minnesota. Slow traffic must keep right.

    (Keep Right Laws) Subd. 10. Slow-moving vehicle. Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway, or when a specific lane is designated and posted for a specific type of traffic.

    6. Tailgating

    This is a byproduct of number 5. However, these tailgating drivers usually also have a personal pet peeve of "cars that drive too slowly". They are usually counting on speeding to make appointments, even during poor weather. Some even take it as a matter of pride that they can emulate Dale "the intimidator" Earnhardt. Note to all of those: Dale is dead. He grazed Sterling Martin's car and smacked a wall in the 2001 Daytona 500.

    From the Minnesota Motorcycle Manual: "When someone is following too closely, change lanes and let them pass." Col. Anne Beers, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, stated in November 2003, "Drivers should compensate for delays by leaving early, not by speeding or tailgating the car in front of them." Both of those pieces of advice fall on deaf ears. There's a race on and may the worst driver win....

    7. Changing lanes - When I put on my blinker, that means punch it and close the gap!

    Minnesotans feel that their space is being encroached when somebody is entering "their" highway. They become possessive and insist that because they were there first, you should go behind. According to some, this behavior has been imported from Philadelphia where it is as common as cheese steak sandwiches.

    8. Start Seeing motorcycles - hovering in your blind spot

    This popular slogan "Start Seeing Motorcycles" can be found everywhere on signs and bumper stickers. Motorcycle riders sometimes neglect their part to make themselves visible. They think that they compensate with another slogan, "Loud Pipes save lives..." Minnesota Motorcycle Manual: "When behind a car, ride where the driver can see you in the rearview mirror . Riding in the center portion of the lane should put your image in the middle of the rearview mirror -- where a driver is most likely to see you.”

    9. Since I have my SUV in four wheel drive, I should be able to stop on icy roads too?

    Right? What is four wheel drive for anyway? "A word of caution to those who drive SUVs. Just because you have four-wheel drive doesn't mean you can stop or turn any better than a two-wheel-drive car. Four-wheel drive allows better motive traction, but when you're off the gas (such as when you need to turn quickly or stop) it doesn't matter; the laws of physics still apply. If you're tempting fate by driving too fast for the road conditions and need to turn or stop quickly, you might as well be driving a Mustang. This explains why, during slippery driving, we see so many SUVs "off road," meaning on the highway median or spun out on the shoulder. Two words of advice to you would-be hotshots: Slow down." Tire Safety

    10. Funeral Procession on the Freeway

    This one is tough. We all have to wait for someone dead to get a speedy escort to the graveyard. What is the rush? They're dead! What is even worse is that the funeral parlor supplies a pseudo-police motorcycle to direct traffic. I wonder how many accidents happen when impatient drivers meet forlorn mourners at speed. However, this is actually permissible by law.

    169.20 Subd. 6. Funeral procession. When any funeral procession identifies itself by using regular lights on all cars and by keeping all cars in close formation, the driver of every other vehicle, except an emergency vehicle, shall yield the right-of-way

    Here are some other less common crazy behaviors. Not everyone does this as most people drive their vehicles safely and defensively. But I have seen plenty of this stuff. Some of it is "Laws do not apply to me at this time" behavior.

    Not allowing passing two lane highway - not on my watch pal! You get thee behind me and do 55. I don't want to look at your taillights, even if I have to go 120 and force you to pull back. Evolution will take care of this problem as it has done in more densely populated areas.

    Taking two spots - (This 1997 Grand Cherokee is my baby! And I have to back in because I am a wannabe volunteer fireman.) This is a sign that the vehicle cost more than the driver could really afford. Really wealthy people park their Rolls between the lines.

    Snowmobiles - (Mind if I do jumps next to you in the ditch and tear it up? I can go 70 too! By the way, I'm drunk!) Every year, a number of snowmobilers die in crashes or go down through thin ice.

    ATV reckless driving - (Too muddy for snowmobiles, mind if I tear up the ditch, then pretend not to notice you as I cross the highway in front of you? By the way, that's my 2 year old son on the back so watch out!)

    Combines - Never mind this vehicle is the size of a house and takes up both highway lanes, let me surprise you around this corner

    Ignoring the Snow plows - Hey what's this huge cloud up ahead?

    Trucks pulling farm wagons - Hey, the load limit is 9 tons, see?

    Tractors with 50 foot wide implements on the highway - Don't worry, it is only a scratch....

    Poorly maintained Semi trailers - Man! that's the fifth cap I have thrown this week!

    Cruising for the front parking space and stalking you as you get ready to leave. You know, it takes a little while to get groceries in the car. Park farther away and go in, instead of bitching at me to hurry up.

    Cell phone usage and other distracted driving. It sure is funny to watch someone have an animated conversation with themselves...
    Posted on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 @ 02:16:05 UTC by BB
    "Minnesota Crazy Driving Behavior" | Login/Create an Account | 2 comments
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    Minnesota Crosswalks (Score: 1)
    by BB on Friday, July 08, 2005 @ 19:35:48 UTC
    (User Info )
    Crosswalks make drivers and walkers crazy too.

    In Minnesota, those traveling by foot or on wheels (Pedestrians, bicyclists, roller skaters/ roller bladers ) have the right of way if they are in a designated crosswalk, said Sgt. Don Marose of the Minnesota State Patrol. It doesn't matter if it's a street or a road.

    Those crossing must use due care, of course, and not walk in front of a vehicle, he said. On the other hand, cars don't have to stop for people who haven't yet entered the crossing area.

    However, if the crosswalk is marked with stop or yield signs -- and many of them are on trails -- the pedestrian, blader or biker must obey the sign.

    Not all trails have designated crosswalks, especially those that cross driveways, alleys or gravel roads.

    The light turned green - HONK! (Score: 1)
    by BB on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 @ 11:36:45 UTC
    (User Info )
    This was a discussion on local talk radio in Minnesota the other day. When the light turns green, people get frantic if traffic does not start moving immediately. So they honk at the cars in front of them if they do not start within 1 millesecond of a semaphore change.

    Personally, I can attest that this happens to people who drive small cars. The larger the car, the less likely you are to be honked at. Pickup trucks and vans tend to start slower, but drivers are less likely to honk at them.

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