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"ASK A TROOPER" talks spray from farm irrigation systems

by Bonnie Amistadi

“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol


Question: What is the law (if there is one) concerning the farmers irrigation system spraying water on the highway and having to drive through it. To me it is a hazard for automobiles (hydroplaning etc.) and extremely dangerous for motorcycles.


Answer: This is a good one; as I received three similar questions on this very topic this week.  Through my research, I was unable to locate any law or statute that specifically states that it is illegal for an irrigation system to spray water on a highway; however, I did find this in Minnesota State Statute 160.2715:


(1) obstruct any highway or deposit snow or ice thereon;

(2) plow or perform any other detrimental operation within the road right-of-way


Violation of this statute is a misdemeanor.  It is my opinion that if enough water was deposited onto the highway, this statute may apply.  “Obstruct any highway” does not only mean “to block” but “to hinder from passage” and “impede.”  As for “detrimental” meaning “obviously harmful,” if the water standing on the road caused more than a wet roadway - enough to hydroplane and thus cause a crash - this too would be an issue. 


I would encourage anyone that observes a safety issue on a roadway to report is as quickly as possible so the proper road authority can address it as soon as possible.


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)