A few seconds into a video recorded on I-494 Thursday, one of the people observing the scene in front of them poses an interesting query.
"What the fuck is this cop doing?" he asks. "Only in Minnesota!"
Well, we don't know about that second part. As for the first, we got this man an answer.
The video depicts a Minnesota State Patrol car with its lights on, but driving slowly. The state trooper proceeds to weave back and forth, from the right lane to the left, effectively slowing down all the cars behind him, most of whom fall back to a distance safely out of view of the camera.
After a couple minutes of this, as signs above indicate they're approaching MSP Airport, the trooper straightens out, just as inexplicably as he or she had started swerving. The patrol car's lights switch off, and it speeds back up; then it takes the next exit.
"Did my man [the trooper] really just make traffic?" one guy wonders aloud.
At one point, a passenger in the recording suggests they "should look this up," and try to find out what's happening. No need, gentlemen.
Lt. Tiffani Nielson, public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol, tells City Pages what you're seeing here is "called 'the wiggle,'" and is a manuever specifically tailored to allow for the removal of debris up ahead.
"At freeway speeds, this is a much safer way to slow traffic," says Nielson, who adds that, according to a report from yesterday, the debris on 494 was a "piece of metal."
According to a Star Tribune story, drivers should slow down when the trooper does, and stop when he or she stops, as that might mark the moment the officer gets out of the car to remove the object on the road. The "wiggle" is a silly name to prevent a deadly serious event: An average of 440 motorists die each year due to collisions with debris in the road, and 10,000-some are injured.
There are no records kept for how many drivers suffer confusion while watching the State Patrol car in front of them do this crazy swerving thing.
Previously in, This thing, explained: