Is It Legal to Pass a Snowplow in Minnesota?
Old Man Winter sure has been dumping the snow on us this week-- and there's more on the way. Which brings up an age-old question here in Minnesota: Can you legally pass a snowplow?
MnDOT frequently tells us-- and rightly so-- how we all need to give snowplows room to do their jobs. But what about when you encounter a plow in the right lane of the highway here in Minnesota? Can you legally pass it in the left lane as you're flying down Highway-52 or zipping along I-90?
Well, yes, legally-speaking, yes, you can-- there isn't a specific law on the books here in the Land of 10,000 (Frozen) Lakes that prohibits you from passing a snowplow. But it's not necessarily a good idea, either. (Though I will admit I've passed plenty of snowplows as they clear snow from the right lane. At least it isn't illegal!)
According to MnDOT, here are some winter driving tips to keep in mind when you encounter a hard-working plow:
Snowplows travel much slower than the posted speeds because it is most effective for clearing roads. The driver’s field of vision is severely restricted behind the truck, and the driver must rely on mirrors to see to the rear and side of the truck. Remember to:
- Be patient, and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
- Stay back at least 10 car lengths between your vehicle and a plow.
- Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
- Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds