Even though we’re only halfway through the month of February, no fewer than 12 incidents involving Minnesota State Patrol cars hit while stopped on the side of the road have already been registered, which comes to nearly one crash per day.
This is an alarming statistic, seen as how only 19 squad cars were struck over the course of last year as a whole. This month, more than half that number of cruisers have already been struck by civilian drivers, with several crashes resulting in officers getting injured, as reported by Brainerd Dispatch.
In order to steer clear of further incidents, Minnesota State Patrol officials are urging drivers to move to the opposite lane whenever they see a stopped squad car. This way, hopefully more injuries can be avoided.
According to spokesman Sgt. Jesse Grabow, while these types of car accidents are more common in winter months, the fact that the number of crashes this February far exceeded any month in the past three years shouldn’t be ignored.
“It just makes for a really bad feeling,” he said. “It’s very stressful.”
Meanwhile, some drivers are pointing to severe weather as the main culprit here, although Grabow isn’t buying it.
“Ultimately the driver’s responsible for keeping control of that vehicle. That’s just due care and that’s just good common sense.”
Taking extra precautions when seeing a stationary vehicle on the side of the road is also something you’re obligated to do by law. Every U.S. state requires you to either slow down or switch lanes in such situations. In Minnesota, failure to do so can result in anything from a $100 fine to more serious charges like careless or reckless driving.