Ask a trooper with Sgt. Mark Baker: Follow rules when driving through construction zonesHave a question you'd like to ask the State Patrol? E-mail email@example.com, fax it to (218) 720-4120 or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask a State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose.
Q: During the summer, I was on I-35 near the Twin Cities. It was a construction zone posted at 45 mph. The freeway was restricted to one narrow lane each direction by concrete barriers. I looked back and saw flashing red lights rapidly approaching from behind. I had no place to go. At 45 mph; the unmarked squad was behind me for what seemed an eternity. When I saw the end of the barrier, I signaled and turned as soon as I was clear. The squad car quickly went around me. Was there a legal option?
A: This is a timely question with the summer road construction fast approaching along with the mega-road construction project that will be happening on I-35 in the Duluth area the next two years.
When you are in a work zone restricted to one lane as you described and an emergency vehicle approaches you from behind with its lights and/or siren on, you do not have the ability to yield to us. We are fully aware of this and most troopers would turn off our lights and siren. We would then continue through the work zone with the rest of the vehicles. Make sure you pull over and stop when you clear the zone. If the officer wanted to stop your vehicle, they would pull in behind you. If they were responding to a call they would activate their lights and siren again and continue on.
An important tip to remember in this type of situation is to stay alert and focused on your driving while going through the work zone. There are typically workers in the zone concentrating on their work and we as drivers should not jeopardize their safety. Put down the cell phone and minimize distractions. Follow the posted speed limits and avoid tailgating. Be patient and remember fines double in work zones.