Troy Christianson

Reports of aggressive driving on the rise; laws don't specify number of vehicles drivers can pass

Ask A Trooper

Question: I read a recent study by the AAA Foundation for traffic safety that nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous year. How many “road rage” incidents are reported to the State Patrol on a yearly basis?

Answer: Troopers respond to a number of calls on a daily basis based on driving conduct and many other issues and actions occurring on our highways. While we do not specifically track “road rage” incidents, I can provide statistics on the number of incidents related to driving conduct and other issues.

 

Driving complaints:

•57,465 (2015)

•33,865 (2016 to date)

Gun-pointing incidents:

119 (2015)

•76 (2016 to date)

Signs of an aggressive driver:

•ignore traffic signals.

•speed and tailgate.

•weave in and out of traffic.

•make improper lane changes frequently and abruptly.

•pass on the shoulder.

•make hand and facial gestures.

•scream, honk and flash lights.

If confronted by an aggressive driver, you should:

get out of their way.

stay calm — reaching your destination safely is your goal.

•do not challenge them.

•avoid eye contact.

•ignore gestures and don’t return them.

•report aggressive driving (vehicle description, license number, location).

•always buckle up to maintain proper seating position in case of abrupt driving maneuvers.

Report aggressive drivers:

•Find a safe place to call 911.

•Be prepared to provide location, vehicle description and license plate.

Question: I have a question about the number of vehicles a person is allowed to pass at one time. Am I allowed to go over the posted speed limit when I pass a vehicle?

Answer: Minnesota law does not state that there are a specific number of vehicles that a driver can pass at one time.

Minnesota law allows a driver to increase their speed 10 m.p.h. over the posted speed limit only when the driver:

•Is on a two-lane highway having one lane for each direction of travel.

•Is on a highway with a posted speed limit that is equal to or higher than 55 miles per hour.

•Is overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction of travel.

Passing should only be done when:

•It is safe to pass with no on-coming traffic approaching.

•The driver has a clear line of sight.

•There are no curves or hills approaching.

•The driver can safely judge the correct distance required to make the pass.

•Passing is permitted on the road.

Drivers should never take chances. I have investigated far too many head-on crashes where the occupants were killed or seriously injured due to unsafe passing. We live in a busy world and often times drivers are impatient, and that can lead to taking risks to pass another vehicle. Your life and the life of others on the road are not worth the risk.

Always remember to plan ahead, pay attention, wear your seat belt, drive the speed limit and never drive while impaired. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, Minnesota 55901-5848, or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.

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