Ask A Trooper: Rest stops serve as a safety feature of travel

Published 6:02 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

By Sgt. Troy Christianson

Question: Hello, I thought I read somewhere that rest areas help reduce crashes. I saw a trooper at a rest area the other day, and it got me thinking about that. Can you write about that? 

Answer: More than 20 million travelers stop at Minnesota rest areas annually.

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Rest areas serve as an essential safety feature on the highway system by giving travelers a place to stop and rest. This helps address driver fatigue, a major cause of serious crashes. Studies reveal that a 15 to 20 minute break improves individual performance, even among sleep-deprived people.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), rest areas serve as a practical way to provide motorists a convenient opportunity to stop, rest and refresh.

In addition, rest areas also:

• Reduce motorist need for shoulder stops.

• Reduce driver and passenger discomfort.

• Reduce driving under hazardous weather and road conditions.

• Offer customer services.

• Promote statewide tourism.

For more information on the safety value of rest areas, visit MnDoT’s website here: www.dot.state.mn.us/restareas/program.html#safety

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.  (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)