Minnesotans know that winter has a way of lasting too long. Snowy and icy roads compel drivers to drive more slowly, leave more distance between themselves and other vehicles, and come to a stop with gradual braking. But when warmer weather returns and roads become clear and dry, drivers can be tempted to abandon safe driving habits.
When roads are dry and clear, it’s easier to go out whenever the mood strikes. Tires grip better on clear roads, there is a significantly lower risk of sliding uncontrollably, and acceleration and braking come with relative ease. The cabin fever that some Minnesotans feel passing by and the feeling of liberation on the open road can cause driving safety to become lax. With clear roads come new dangers.
Dangers of Driving Too Fast
In the wintertime, drivers are forced to proceed more slowly due to the risk of slipping. With that risk having melted away, drivers may be tempted to drive faster. Driving faster can mean more speeding tickets, which can take a toll on your pocketbook, especially when going significantly faster than posted speed limits or in construction zones.
More importantly, despite the thrill of putting the pedal to the metal, it is crucial to weigh your need to get somewhere quickly against one simple fact: just a moment of carelessness can lead to a collision and change a life forever—mounting medical bills, wage loss, life-long disability, traumatic brain injury, criminal prosecution, or even death. Any driver worried about beating the clock needs to decide if being on time is worth the risk of other possible outcomes.
Be on the Lookout for Pedestrians!
After months of winter, many Minnesotans are itching to get outside—families and friends are out for walks, joggers are out for fresh air. In general, pedestrians must obey traffic signals, but drivers need to become acutely aware of pedestrians again, including at crosswalks. Minnesota law gives pedestrians the right-of-way at crosswalks, even when unmarked at an intersection. Vehicles must stop for these pedestrians. If a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian, Minnesota law prohibits going around that vehicle. Trying to go around another vehicle can be very dangerous and may result in serious harm to an unsuspecting pedestrian.
Watch Out for Children!
With warmer weather, children will be out playing. An errant ball may go in the street, or a young child may want to cross to a neighbor’s yard, unaware of the dangers of vehicles on the roadway. In Minnesota, regardless of right-of-way, drivers must exercise due care on any roadway, and that care is heightened if the pedestrian is a child or incapacitated person. Be sure to drive at appropriate speeds in your neighborhood, and beware of your surroundings at all times.
Always Practice Good Driving Habits!
- Drive at appropriate speeds, giving yourself enough time to stop in case of an emergency.
- Come to a gradual stop whenever possible, leaving enough time for a driver behind you to stop, as failing to do so can lead to a rear-end collision.
- Watch for pedestrians at crosswalks and children on neighborhood streets.
- Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Distracted driving, such a texting, is a leading cause of collisions.
If you were injured in a crash, or if someone you love has been killed due to someone else’s negligence, you should work with a trusted Minnesota personal injury lawyer who can help you through the legal process.