If they happen to do something like slide off the road into a snow bank, they fail

    Question: Hello, I have question for you and wanted to know your thoughts. I brought my recently turned 16 year old child in last week to take the behind the wheel driver’s test to get their driver’s license.

    The weather was less than ideal and the roads were not in the best shape. I asked the examiner what happens if my child runs off the road into a snow bank during the test, how would they score that. The examiner stated, “They fail.”

    I was surprised to hear that. Is that fair? Just looking for the insight of a Minnesota State Trooper. Thanks!

    Answer: Thank you for the question and I hope your child did well on the test. I’ve served as a Minnesota State Trooper for over 20 years and I know that weather and roads may be a factor in a crash. Ultimately, however, every driver is responsible for being aware of potential hazards, drive to conditions and use due care in operating a vehicle.

    Here’s how “due care” is defined: “Due” – obligation required by law. “Care” – the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something.

    I still deal with many drivers who disagree with this standard. They choose not to accept responsibility and will continue to blame the ice, snow, etc. It wasn’t their fault because the road was slippery. Drivers don’t intend to crash, but the fact remains that it is preventable, and they need to be accountable for their actions. A driver can be cited in this instance.

    Some might think that’s a bit harsh. The reality is I’ve seen too many injuries and deaths from a lack of “due care.”

    So if someone failed a driver’s test for running off the road and into a snowbank, I think it’s appropriate. Consider it a learning experience and come back better, smarter and more experienced.

    As a father of three boys who will have their driver’s license in just a matter of time, set the example. Show them responsibility, accountability and how to adapt to their driving environment.

    A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).