Ask the Chief: Use 'The Creep' when driving around snow piles
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Q: I can't see around the tall snow piles at intersections, how can I avoid a collision when entering an intersection?
A: With the amount of snow we received in such a short about of time, the snow piles along the roadway and at intersections are very high and creating blind spots at intersections. These blind spots force us to adjust how we enter a roadway and especially when entering an intersection or backing out of our driveway. These blind intersections are very dangerous because you can't see approaching vehicles and they can't see you until they are in the intersection. Kudos to Public Works for the outstanding job they have done, making sure the roads are cleared so we can get around.
Now it is up to us (vehicle operators) to ensure that we are responsible and drive defensively! Until the five-foot snow piles melt or are cleared away, we must approach/enter the intersection with extreme caution, driving defensively to avoid a collision.
Back to your question, when approaching an intersection, stop at the required location, stop line (if visible), at the stop sign or approximately 10 feet back from the "curb line" of the crossing roadway. Once you have come to a complete stop, proceed with caution by creeping forward very slowly, allowing you to quickly stop, if a vehicle suddenly appears, once you can see that it is clearly safe to clear the intersection, proceed. Native Minnesotans call this driving maneuver "The Creep" or the "Peek a Boo" — so proceed by creeping forward slowly to safely view the intersection and avoid being struck.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say "The Creep" also applies to pedestrians. Pedestrians please take extra caution before entering an intersection as drivers may not see you until it is too late, and drivers please yield to pedestrians as they have the right of way. The common denominator is for both vehicle operators and pedestrians to slow down and use caution.
One last point of concern related to the high snow piles. We have received calls for service concerning property owners pushing the snow from their driveway into the street, as they feel there is no more room on their property for the snow. Minnesota Statute 160.2715 and city of Red Wing Code, Chapter 7, Section 7.07 states that placing snow on or across roadways or streets is a misdemeanor per occurrence, which means each time you enter the roadway with another blade of snow is a subsequent charge. This added snow increases the size of the pile and in some situations, causes the snow pile to move further from the curb. Spring is only a couple weeks away, so let's hang in there and make it safely through this last bit of winter.
1. Minnesota Statute #160.2715, Right of Way Use, Misdemeanor. Located online at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2018/cite/160.2715?keyword_type=all&... +obstruction
2. City of Red Wing, City Code Chapter 7, Streets and Sidewalks. Located online at: http://lf.ci.red-wing.mn.us/weblink/0/doc/52268/Page1.aspx