Make sure to change lanes when approaching emergency vehicles
Published on January 10, 2023 at 3:30pm EST | Author: frazeevergas0
Ask A Trooper
Sgt. Jesse Grabow
Question: If I am driving down a two lane road and a State Trooper is driving toward me with their flashing lights on, am I supposed to move over?
Answer: When approaching any authorized emergency vehicle equipped with emergency lights, the driver of each other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in this position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.
Question: I was driving on the freeway during the worst part of a recent storm. Just had a question—are people supposed to use their emergency flashers when they are driving? So many cars on the freeway were, and it made it impossible to tell if someone was actually stopped or moving slowly (also, if they changed lanes, there was no way to tell). I was having trouble seeing anyway, and this made it worse. Is this something they teach in drivers’ education these days?
Answer: This is a great question. A driver can use their hazard lights to warn other motorists of a vehicular traffic hazard that requires caution in approaching, overtaking or passing.
Situations with limited visibility such as a blizzard, thick fog and heavy rain could constitute a traffic hazard. Other hazardous scenarios could include:
• A vehicle having issues maintaining a minimum safe speed.
• A flat tire or mechanical breakdown on the shoulder of the road.
• An impaired driver or driver conducting dangerous behaviors.
If a line of traffic is moving along at the same speed, I am not sure it would be in the best interest for anyone in that lane to be using hazard lights. It is important to know which vehicle is moving at a slower speed than the rest of the flow of traffic or for those needing to make lane changes and needing to signal. As mentioned earlier, it’s generally for the lone vehicle causing the hazard.
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, email@example.com).