Ask a Trooper: Opening car doors in traffic

Q:  When I am driving in some towns, I have had to slam on my brakes many times to avoid hitting someone’s car door which they have opened up right in front of me.  I thought there was a law against this.  If there is, would you please write about it?

A:  Sure, no problem.  Yes there is a law on this.  Minnesota State Statute 169.315 states that, “No person shall open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic.”  The law goes on to say, “No person shall allow any door on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic to remain open for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”  It should be needless to say, that serious injuries or death could be the result of someone’s carelessness in these types of circumstances.

We need to slow down and be especially observant when driving in an area that has cars stopping or parking with people getting in and out of their vehicles.  Safety is our number one goal no matter what the situation is, including hitting someone’s car doors!

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.

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