Ask a Trooper by Sgt. Jesse Grabow

Question: I do a lot of local driving for work, and every day I see an abundance of vehicles that roll through stops. This happens most frequently in a “right on red” situation. I have seen many near misses by vehicles rolling through a “right on red.” I was just wondering what our state law requires of us at stop signs/red lights.

Answer: According to the Minnesota Driver’s Manual, when approaching a red light (solid or flashing) or a stop sign, motorists must come to a complete stop prior to reaching a marked limit line, entering the crosswalk at the near side of the intersection, or entering the intersection itself.

When making a right turn on a red light, Minnesota law allows motorists to make a right turn after a complete stop at a red light, unless there’s a sign indicating the turn is prohibited. Drivers must use caution and follow right-of-way rules.

When making a left turn on a red light, a motorist can make a left turn after stopping at a red light only from a one-way street onto another one-way street. Motorcyclists and bicyclists can proceed through a red light, with caution, if

: • They made a complete stop.
• The signal continued to show red for an “unreasonable time”.
• The signal apparently malfunctioned or failed to detect the bicycle or motorcycle.
• No vehicle or pedestrian was approaching or close enough so as to make going through the red signal dangerous.

Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or a red light can result in a fine of $300 or more.

Remember to take driving seriously, avoid all distractions, and pay attention to your surroundings while operating a motor vehicle.

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, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).