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Ask a Trooper: Question about stopping in traffic lanes

Question: As an officer, I notice a lot of motorists using bypass lanes as “pit stops,” stopping there to use their phone, or for other reasons.

I appreciate passing lanes, and I am in favor of them.

I wish there were more of them. I do stop and advise these “pit stop” drivers they have chosen one of the most unsafe places to stop.

I explain to them that a passing vehicle may not see them until it is too late. I thought this may be a topic for your column. Have a good day.

Answer: Since passing lanes are one of the only places a motorist can legally pass on the right — besides a multilane highway — we should make sure we are leaving those passing lanes open for their intended purpose.

I see drivers stopping in turn lanes as well, probably for the same reasons they are stopping in passing lanes.

I never want to sound as if I am lecturing, but I honestly don’t know what people are thinking when they stop their vehicle in lanes of traffic like that.

I believe people just are not thinking about turn lanes and passing lanes as being used much, or having light traffic.

In some areas, that might be true, but it is still unsafe and not lawful to stop there. As officers, we hate citing people constantly for things that are completely preventable, but sometimes a citation is what it takes.

We need to do something, because a serious injury or a fatal crash could be the result in situations such as this.

I hope all the readers will take this issue seriously and pass this information on.

Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is with the Minnesota State Patrol.