Minneapolis drivers come in all shapes and sizes. There are petrified slow drivers, there are terrifying fast drivers and everyone in between. Stay alert, obviously, and you shouldn’t have any problems.
NOTE: It’s illegal to text and drive in the State of Minnesota even at stoplights. This includes reading texts, composing emails and looking at websites. A first offence means a $50 fine, plus court fees. A second offence is a $225 fine, plus court fees. Nearly 6,000 drivers were cited for texting and driving in 2016.
As of 2019, it is also illegal to drive while talking on a cellphone (hands-free hardware required!), so look make sure you've got a phone dock or the car is in park before making or answering any calls. Teens driving on permits cannot use cellphones at all.
Most of Minneapolis’ streets are plotted on a delightfully intuitive grid system with a large number of streets being numbered. This makes navigation relatively easy. There are, however, a few quirks to keep in mind while you’re cruising the streets.
Nearly all the streets in downtown Minneapolis are one-way. Not a day goes by when someone from out of town doesn’t take an impulsive turn only to find themselves facing a wall of oncoming traffic. Don’t be that person!
Unlike many other cities, cars are not allowed to drive down the city’s light rail tracks. Train operators will often lean on the horn if they see someone driving on the tracks for, like, a really long time, which can be embarrassing (we hear).
Beware of drifting out into the intersection during a green light if there’s gridlock ahead of you. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, if you get caught in the intersection after the light turns red, also known as “blocking the box,” you can be fined. Make sure there’s enough room for you to completely cross before entering an intersection.
Traffic agents are often in the streets in downtown Minneapolis during rush hour. Any directions one of these agents gives you overrides traffic signals and signs. Also, be extremely careful while passing these brave folks, so as not to injure them with your car.
Minneapolis is a year-round cycling city. When crossing over a bike lane, be especially alert that there isn’t a cyclist in your path.
If you’re not accustomed to driving on snow and ice, we can’t stress this enough, patience is key. There’s no such thing as “too slow” when driving on un-plowed streets or through a winter storm. If you’re here in the dead of winter (January-March), though it doesn’t happen frequently, it’s a good idea to familiarized yourself with the phenomenon of black ice and how to safely navigate it.