It’s important to know the rules of the road for navigating the state of 10,000 lakes. In Minnesota it often feels like there are more waterways than roadways (and perhaps there are), knowing the rules and regulations particular to the state will help you navigate the vast parks such as Voyageurs National Park in far northern Minnesota and cities such as Minneapolis and Duluth. Avoiding fines and offenses can keep you from ruining the pleasure of a car rental vacation.
General Rules of the Road in Minnesota
- The driver and all passengers must wear a seat belt at all times.
- Children under 8 years of age must be in an appropriately sized safety seat.
- Drivers lose their right of way if they are traveling at higher speeds than signposted.
- Drivers must yield to funeral processions and to pedestrians when not doing so is likely to result in an accident.
- Headlights must be turned on in the case of fog, snow, sleet, rain, and hail where visibility is reduced to 500 feet or less.
- You can increase your speed limit by up to 10 mph over the designated speed limit in order to pass on a 2-to 4 lane highway.
- It is illegal to throw trash from your vehicle.
- You must not use your cell phone without a hands-free kit.
- Drivers must come to a stop within 20 feet of a school bus that is loading or unloading children even when the bus is in the oncoming traffic lane. The rule does not apply if the bus is on the other side of a divided highway.
- You must “zipper merge” in Minnesota, meaning you must stay in your lane until the point where the lanes merge rather than merging early.
Speed Limits in Minnesota
Though speed limits are variable across the state and often signposted, here are the most common speed limits you will encounter.
|Within city limits||30 mph (48 km/h)|
|Rural highways||55 mph (89 km/h)|
|Expressways in cities||65 mph (105 km/h)|
|Interstates||70 mph (113 km/h)|
Turning and Parking
U-turns are legal in Minnesota but like many U.S states, you shouldn’t obstruct the traffic flow when you turn. Minnesota uses reduced conflict intersections on 4-lane highways where you must first turn right and make the U-turn in the designated area.
In Minnesota as in other states there are specific distances you must adhere to when parking. Parking at intersections, on crosswalks, more than 12 inches from the curb, obstructing traffic, and double parking are all forbidden. It is also illegal to park in front of mailboxes and curbs that are painted yellow. Some distance rules to remember in Minnesota are:
- Do not park within 10 feet of a fire hydrant.
- Do not park within 50 feet of a railway crossing.
- Do not park within 30 feet of a traffic signal, flashing beacons, or yield sign.
Car Rental with SIXT in Minnesota
To be precise, Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, so it’s a dream location for watersports enthusiasts and people who love relaxing on the water. Many of the most beautiful lakes and waterways are in the majestic Voyageurs National Park that is easy to explore with a rental car. Another great spot for nature lovers is the Superior National Forest. In this vast wilderness, you can also find Boundary Waters, which is a dream spot for canoeing and stargazing with the accompaniment of howling wolves.
For those looking to mix some cities into their nature, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a brilliant art scene, cutting-edge cuisine, and an exciting alternative music scene. The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Weisman Art Museum are all worth your time. You should also check out the northern port city of Duluth and its backdrop of immense hardwood forest where you get both big-city thrills and beautiful nature.