Ask a Trooper: Sgt. Neil Dickenson of Minnesota State Patrol

state patrol squadQuestion:
On highway 210 we came upon a line of three cars all going 55.  There was a long stretch of open road for several miles so I passed all three without returning to my lane.  My friend questioned the legality. It is legal to pass more than one vehicle at a time?
Answer:
I am assuming you were in a 60 MPH zone. You can pass more than one vehicle on the left as long as it is done in a safe manner. Even though there is no law against passing more than one vehicle at a time, it is not recommended.
If it is safe to pass, make sure the pass is completed in a legal passing zone and that you are able to see and judge the speed of approaching vehicles and vehicles you are passing.
The law says the driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle shall pass to the left at a safe distance and not return to the right side until safely clear of the other vehicle.
In 2009, the Minnesota legislature created a passing exemption providing for an increased speed limit when passing another vehicle. The legislature increased the speed limit by ten miles per hour over the posted speed limit when the driver:
•    Is on a two-lane highway with one lane for each direction of travel.
•    Is on a highway with a posted speed limit equal to or greater than 55 miles per hour.
•    Is overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction.
Once you have safely passed, you are required to reduce your speed below or at the posted speed limit as soon as possible.
Please use good judgement and ask yourself if passing a vehicle or vehicles is really worth the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash. How much time are you really saving getting to your final destination?
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 Sgt. Neil Dickenson – Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave, Duluth, MN 55811.  (You can follow me on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE or reach me at [email protected]).