7 Minnesota Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Minnesota motorists tend to ignore important rules of the road, like not following too closely and passing on the left.

Traffic laws are in place to help ensure everyone travels safely on Minnesota roads. Drivers who ignore rules can not only be pulled over and face expensive tickets but can also cause more accidents. By not following the rules of the road, these drivers endanger themselves and others.

Below, you’ll find seven of the most commonly overlooked Minnesota traffic laws. Keep reading to understand what they are and what you can do to be a better, more cautious motorist.

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1. Minnesota Slower Traffic Keep Right Law: The “Move Over” Rule

You must move to the right to allow faster traffic to pass you when driving on Minnesota roads. When there is more than one lane of travel in the same direction, you need to stay in the right-hand lane unless you are passing slower traffic or preparing to make a left turn.

If you are on a road with only one lane of traffic in each direction and need to travel hazardously slow, you must keep as close to the curb on the right as safely possible.

Upon a roadway with one lane in the direction of travel, a person proceeding at a speed that is sufficiently low as to create a traffic hazard must operate the vehicle as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

Upon a roadway with more than one lane in the same direction of travel, a person must move out of the left-most lane to allow another vehicle to pass, when practicable under existing conditions. This does not apply when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

MN Code § 169.18(10)

2. Minnesota Flow of Traffic Law: The “Minimum Speed” Rule

Minnesota has no statewide minimum speed limit, but specific portions of the road may have posted minimum speeds. You must travel at least that quickly if you travel on a section with a posted minimum speed.

On determining that a speed at least as great as, or in excess of, a specified and determined minimum is necessary to the reasonable and safe use of any trunk highway or portion thereof, the commissioner may erect appropriate signs specifying the minimum speed on such highway or portion thereof.

MN Code § 169.14(8)

3. Minnesota Driving in Left Lane Law: The “Passing on the Left” Rule

Minnesota drivers must pass other vehicles on the left at a safe distance. When passing, you cannot move back to the right lane until you have entirely overtaken the other car.

If another driver is passing you, you need to yield the right-of-way. You cannot increase your speed until the other vehicle has completed its pass.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible warning, and shall not increase the speed of the overtaken vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

MN Code § 169.18(3)

4. Minnesota Rear-End Collision Law: The “Following Too Closely” Rule

To avoid illegally tailgating another vehicle, you must leave a “reasonable and prudent” amount of space. The required distance depends on factors like weather and traffic conditions. What is reasonable on a sunny day can be following too closely during a blizzard.

Additionally, Minnesota prohibits drivers from following within 500 feet of emergency response vehicles when they are traveling to or from an incident.

The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the conditions of the highway.

The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow within 500 feet of an authorized emergency vehicle that is traveling in response to an emergency.

MN Code § 169.18(8)

5. Minnesota Mobile Phone Driving Law: The “Hands-Free Driving” Rule

In Minnesota, using your cell phone while driving or sitting in traffic is illegal unless you use it in ‘hands-free’ mode. The prohibition includes sending or reading texts, emails, videos, pictures, or even making calls.

However, you can use your cell phone outside of hands-free mode to report an emergency, accident, or potential hazard on the road. You can also use your phone to prevent a crime or if you believe you are in immediate danger.

When a motor vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic, the person operating the vehicle is prohibited from using a wireless communications device to initiate, compose, send, retrieve, or read an electronic message, engage in a cellular phone call, and access video content, audio content, images, games, or software applications.

The prohibitions do not apply if a person uses a wireless communications device solely in a voice-activated or hands-free mode; to obtain emergency assistance to report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious traffic hazard, or  prevent a crime about to be committed; or in the reasonable belief that a person’s life or safety is in immediate danger.

MN Code § 169.475

6. Minnesota Four-Way Intersection Law: The “4-Way Stop” Rule

In Minnesota, when two drivers arrive at an intersection at the same time, the driver to the left must yield the right-of-way. The driver on the right can proceed through the intersection first. This rule applies regardless of whether the intersection is uncontrolled, has a four-way stop sign, or has four-way blinking red lights.

When two vehicles enter an uncontrolled intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

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.

MN Code § 169.20(1)

7. Minnesota Left Turn Intersection Law: The “Right of Way” Rule

You cannot cut across oncoming traffic to make a left turn if doing so would make you a safety hazard. Instead, you must yield to vehicles traveling the opposite direction and wait for them to clear before proceeding into the turn.

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

MN Code § 169.20(2)

Obeying Minnesota’s traffic laws will help you avoid tickets and reach your destination safely. Plus, driving legally goes a long way towards being a more cautious and courteous driver. So, try and remember these seven rules of the road each and every time you head out.

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>