Ask a Trooper: Yes, you can make an emergency stop


Question: I recently saw someone pulled over to the side on the freeway with a flat tire. I pulled over also to approach them. Was what I did illegal?

Answer: This is legal as you were stopping on the freeway to offer assistance and this would fit under the “emergency stopping” criteria in the law.

Minnesota law does not allow motorists to stop on a freeway unless it is for an emergency. Signs are posted at all entrance ramps onto the freeway. Pedestrians, bicycles, motorized bicycles and non-motorized traffic also are prohibited onto the freeway.

If your vehicle ever becomes stalled on a roadway, attempt to move your vehicle out of the lanes of traffic and as far off onto the shoulder as possible. Activate your 4-way flashers and call for assistance if needed. Tow truck operators will change the flat tire for you or tow your vehicle to a safe location where it can safely be changed. If you plan on changing a flat tire and you are in a dangerous section of the road, we can provide emergency lights and assistance, but the best and safest option is to call for a tow truck.

While waiting for assistance to arrive, stay in your vehicle and put on your seatbelt. In the event that your stalled vehicle is ever struck, being inside your vehicle with your seatbelt on can save your life and keep you from being injured.


If you are approaching a stalled vehicle and see someone changing a tire or working on their vehicle on the roadway, slow down and move over for them, just like you would for an emergency vehicle.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. With questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, contact Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (Follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at ).

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