Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Articles written by Sgt. Neil Dickenson

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What's the proper way to do a zipper merge?

Question: What is the proper technique when there is a zipper lane?  For example, coming off of 35 onto London Road, there are two lanes, but everyone merges over to the left lane immediately upon getting onto London Rd.  I learned to drive, and...

 

What is the open bottle law in Minnesota?

Question: Can you explain what is considered an open bottle violation here in Minnesota? Answer: Minnesota law says that it is a crime for a person to drink or consume an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle when the vehicle is upon a street or...

 

Can you drive a collector vehicle in another state?

Question: Can a vehicle with a Minnesota collector plate be driven legally in Arizona? Is it legal to drive it to and from both states? Answer: Can’t speak for Arizona’s laws, but the general rule is to follow all of the current registration...

 

Has the number of DWI arrests declined?

Question: I read somewhere that the number of DWI arrests had declined recently? Is this true? What about non-alcohol related DWI arrests? Answer: While alcohol-related DWI incidents have dropped over the past 10 years in Minnesota, controlled...

 

Blinded by the light: fog lights on vehicles

Question: I see a lot of people that have their fog lights on and when I am meeting them on the road and some are very bright and make seeing the road very difficult. Some of them appear to be out of alignment and are blinding. What is the law that c...

 

When should you stop for school buses?

Question: This winter has provided snowbanks — barriers in town, eliminating the turn lane, between our east and west bound lanes.  If a school bus is stopped and the stop arm is extended, does the opposing traffic have to stop? Answer:...

 

Should you call 911 for someone texting and driving?

Question: My question is, if I see someone texting and they are driving in an unsafe manner (crossing in and out of their lane or going onto shoulder) should I call 911? Answer: Absolutely call 911 if you see any unsafe driving conduct that could res...

 

Is propping your feet on the dash illegal?

Question: I often see front seat passengers in vehicles with their feet on the dash. Is there a law that prohibits this? I can’t help to wonder what would happen in the event that the air bags deploy. Answer: There is no law that prohibits a...

 

Driver's license, REAL ID, and enhanced DL

Question: Do I need to obtain the new Real ID and Driver’s License when my license expires? Answer: The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) began issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID...

 

Watch for the lights: vehicle accidents

Question: I was driving on I-35 on a winter night when I saw emergency lights flashing ahead. I moved over and slowed down but when I approached the accident scene I found I was in the lane of the accident. From a distance I could not decipher what...

 

Auxiliary headlamps on a truck with a plow blade

Question: I have a questions regarding the auxiliary headlights on a truck with a plow. Are they a requirement? I purchased a plow for my truck recently and the lights that came with are not nearly as bright as the stock lights on my truck. My stock...

 

Can a person get a ticket for driving too slow?

Question: Can a person get a ticket for driving too slow? Answer: Yes they can. Minnesota State Statute says that no person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except...

 

Following too closely and the 3-second-plus rule

Question: What is the legal following distance? What can I do when someone is following too close behind me? Isn’t there a rule of so many vehicle lengths for miles per hour to use as a guide? Answer: The only law regarding following distance...

 

What to do in the event of a vehicle accident

Question: What should a person do if they are involved in a crash? Answer: The State Patrol alone has handled over 41,000 so far this year, so it’s important to know what to do immediately after one happens. Each crash is different and the person...

 

Preparing teens for getting behind the wheel

Question: I have a 15 year old son and we just signed him up for driver’s training and I was told that a State Trooper provides a presentation for the parents and new drivers. Can you explain what this presentation consists of and is this...

 

Safe winter driving tips

Question: Can you provide some winter driving safety tips? Answer: Driving on the highway during the winter months requires more attention than ever. While summer months are the deadliest on Minnesota roads, wintertime leads to the most crashes and...

 

Are dash cams legal?

Question: I see a lot of dash camera footage on YouTube and online altogether. This got me thinking are dash cams legal? Answer: Great question as we see so many videos posted online. Minnesota law allows for driver feedback and safety monitoring...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: In light of the fact that most drivers exceed the posted speed limit, especially on interstate freeways, will I get a citation for obstructing traffic if I drive the speed limit?  This is especially a concern in and around the Twin Cities...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: I’ve noticed that school busses all have the words “School Bus” written at the top of the windshield on the front of the vehicle. Similarly, when the bus is used for a different purpose other than school, the words are scraped off or...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: Minnesota just recently enacted a hands-free while driving law, but many states do not have such a law. How is this enforced when people from out of state are traveling on our Interstate highways? I have not seen any signs go up stating...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: I have a rather random, but seasonally appropriate question: with harvest season upon us and with slow moving farm vehicles/implements on roadways, is it permissible to pass a slow-moving farm implement on Minnesota highways in a...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: Now that Minnesota’s hands free law is in effect it seems there are numerous vehicles pulled over on the shoulder with the driver talking or texting on the phone. This seems unsafe. Is it legal? And if not, what is the recommended...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: I hear you mention TZD and how law enforcement works with them. Can you explain what TZD is? Answer: TZD is an initiative and stands for Towards Zero Deaths. Minnesota’s TZD program was launched in 2003 by the Minnesota Departments of...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: Can you give some advice on driving in fog? The fog became one car-length dense the other day and it became a dangerous situation. Answer: Driving when the weather limits your visibility can be a challenge for all of us on the road. You...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: Does the new hands-free law apply to tractors, lawn mowers and UTVs? Answer: The hands-free law applies to all motor vehicles. A motor vehicle would include tractors and lawn mowers on a street or highway. The hands-free law would not apply...

 

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