ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota Nice. The two words paint a glowing picture of the people of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But is it really true? It's easiest to monitor on the road. And some would say: "Just SLOW DOWN!"
Word on the street is, if you put a steering wheel in front of a Minnesotan, all bets are off and things go from Minnesota Nice to Minnesota Rude.
"I'm surprised there aren't more accidents here actually," said Mary Kramer, who faces road rage on her walk to her bus stop to get to work in downtown Rochester.
"Yeah it can take a little bit of time to get across some mornings."
She said the morning rush near John Marshall High School can make the most cautious of pedestrians fear for their safety.
"There's a lot of traffic, it's bumper to bumper, and you really can't step out there until there's a break in the traffic because people just don't stop," Kramer said. "I've stepped out before and cars just keep coming so it's actually kind of dangerous in the morning to cross there."
Patrick Nelson has been a driving instructor for nearly a decade and has seen it all.
"People are driving way too aggressively. They seem to be in way too much of a hurry, they are accelerating to pass people in situations that they shouldn't, they're not using their signal lights, they're cutting people off as soon as they get in front of them, and they're really not driving to the conditions."
And then, there's what a lot of people do at a stop sign. It's the old "rolling stop".
"They'll approach a stop sign, do a quick look, if look at all, and continue to go right on through," Nelson said. "You know you may hear the phrase, 'no cop no stop.'"
But sometimes, it's not just the stop sign drivers aren't pumping the brakes for it's also people.
"The car knew I was going across and waved me on, but somebody on the right of them came and hit me," said Althea Paige of Rochester. "I had my grocery cart up against my leg, and that went flying and I went down, and I had thick gloves on thank goodness, but I hit my hand and had a great big gash on it."
Paige says, it was what happened afterwards that was even more shocking.
"The guy kept going, he didn't stop to see if I was alright or nothing."
On the highway, it can be even worse.
So how do you think Minnesota drivers stack up to other states? Is this just normal behavior?
"Overall I think Minnesotans tend to be more laid back because we're not as congested," Nelson said.
John Hunziker said he's seen crazy drivers in cities like Washington, D.C. and Chicago, but that Minnesota has gotten worse over the years.
"I think it's changed and I think people are getting 'ruder' for lack of a better word and I think it's because everybody's in a hurry, and everybody wants you to get out of the way so they can get where they want to go," he said.
So it leaves the questions: are you one of these aggressive drivers? And how do you deal with one if you encounter one on the roads?
The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety says you may be considered an aggressive driver if you:
Ignore traffic signals, speed and tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, pass on the shoulder, make hand and facial gestures, or scream, honk and flash your lights.
In addition, if you run into an aggressive driver on the road, the Office of Traffic Safety advises that you:
Get out of their way, stay calm and remember that reaching your destination is the ultimate goal, do not challenge them, avoid eye contact, ignore gestures, and always buckle up.
Officials also recommend you report negligent driving if you witness it going on.
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