Q: When I get behind a slow tractor on Highway 58/Bush Street or on Pioneer Road, can I pass it?

A: Good question for this time of year, as farmers will soon begin harvesting their crops and may have to utilize some roadways to get to their fields. Getting to your destination on time is your goal, and the Red Wing Police Department's goal is keeping the shared roadways safe for all of our motoring public. One way RWPD helps to keep the roadways safe is through education, so thank you for the opportunity to answer your question.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the line in the middle of the road solid or broken?
  • What color is the line in the middle of the road?
  • Do you see a No-passing zone sign?
  • What is the speed limit? Can you overtake the tractor without speeding?
  • Is the tractor pulling farm equipment? If yes, allow additional passing time.
  • What are the conditions of the road?
  • Do you have clear visibility of the other lane?
  • Is there a driveway coming up on the left, that the tractor might turn into?

If you can safely pass another vehicle without speeding and you are not prohibited from passing by signs and pavement markings, then yes, you can pass. Remember the exception allowing you to travel up to 10 mph over the speed limit when passing is ONLY on Highways with speeds of 55 mph or greater.

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I grew up on the farm, so I was always aware of cars needing to pass me. If the road permitted, I would pull over and let cars go around me, but that is not always possible. Traffic laws require the slow-moving vehicle to drive as close as possible to the right side of the road, until the slow-moving vehicle is preparing to make a left turn, then they will stay within their lane, however as close as possible to the left side of the lane.

Pavement markings

White lines separate lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction. A line composed of white dashes indicates that drivers can change lanes in areas where this type of marking is present. A line of shorter and thicker white dashes indicates that the lane will end. A solid white line indicates that lane changes are discouraged in areas where this type of marking is present.

Solid white lines also mark crosswalks, stop lines at intersections, parking stalls, and the edges of a roadway. Double solid white lines indicate that lane changes are prohibited in areas where this type of marking is present. A solid white line with a bicycle insignia along the side of the road indicates an area is designated for bicycle traffic only. Bicycles must travel in the same direction as adjacent traffic.

Yellow lines separate traffic moving in opposite directions. A solid yellow line indicates that passing is prohibited in areas where this marking is present. Passing in a no-passing zone is illegal. A line composed of yellow dashes indicates that passing is allowed in areas where this type of marking is present. A solid yellow line may appear on one side of the roadway, while a line composed of dashes appears on the other side. Drivers must obey the marking that is present in their lane of traffic.

Two solid yellow lines, one in each lane of traffic, indicate that passing is prohibited in both directions. Drivers traveling in both directions are prohibited from crossing the double solid centerline in order to pass other vehicles.


1. Minnesota Drivers Manual, located online at:


2. Minnesota Statute 169.18 Driving Rules, locate online at www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2019/cite/169.18

“Ask The Chief” allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Generally one answer a week is posted RWPD social media sites and printed in the Red Wing Republican Eagle.