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Ask a Trooper: Move over for stopped vehicles

One of many Minnesota State Trooper involved crashes this winter. Submitted photo

Question: In the past few weeks, I noticed a major increase in the number of crashes due to slippery roads. Can you explain the importance of driving with due care and what troopers are seeing?

Answer: We have been extremely busy this winter responding to many crashes and calls about vehicles off the road. Since we're responding to an increased number of incidents, it increases the chances that we'll get hit from a secondary crash.

Multiple squads have been hit by passing motorists in the month of February alone and some of those crashes involved injuries.

We use our patrol cars to secure and protect a crash scene so those involved are protected from other passing vehicles. This becomes extremely dangerous for the troopers that are securing the crash scene and especially if the crash is blocking a lane of traffic on a slippery roadway.

We will request other troopers or available law enforcement agencies to assist us with traffic control by slowing down approaching motorists and warning them of a lane closure.

I was struck while I was parked alongside the road while investigating another crash a few years ago. I completely understand the importance of motorists needing to move over for those helping others along the roadway.

If you see the first emergency vehicle parked with its emergency lights on and they are not immediately out with another vehicle, chances are, this is most likely a warning for all the approaching motorists that there is another crash/incident ahead. Please remember to move over if you can when you see flashing lights. If you are unable to move over, slow down significantly.

Motorists also need to pay attention at all times and adjust their speeds to the current road conditions. Always wear your seatbelt, increase your following distance and make sure your lights are on when visibility is reduced.

Our office is the highway and we need your help to keep ourselves and other motorists safe.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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