There’s a turkey on the highway ramp. What do you do?

Minnesotans are particularly bad at a number of things: taking the last piece, the zipper merge, and catching turkeys.

KARE 11’s video of Thursday morning’s incident at the Hennepin-Lyndale ramp to eastbound Interstate 94 is unbelievable, even by Minnesota standards.

Hit the turkey and let’s get moving.

Turkey snarls commute

Traffic is always brutal on the stretch of eastbound I-94 at the Hennepin-Lyndale ramp, but things were made worse Thursday by a wild turkey, and a motorist who left their car in a disruptive attempt to save it.

Posted by KARE 11 on Thursday, February 14, 2019

  • Gary F

    There is no way I’d chase after a turkey, especially on a freeway entrance.
    They are not an endangered species. They are mean. Lunch for a coyote or crow.

    • KariBemidji

      And they are solid. One of the golf coaches hit one last year with 15 passenger van and it was not drivable.

      • jon

        for how fast traffic is moving I think both the car and turkey would walk away from the incident… turkey might even learn something from the incident.

      • John O.

        And it probably just made the turkey mad.

      • boB from WA

        The turkey?

    • Jack Ungerleider

      Some of us drive small cars, running into a full grown adult turkey could be hazardous to the car and the drivers health. (Not to mention insurance premiums!)

  • MrE85

    While I discourage running around after birds on freeways, I applaud these kind souls efforts to remove the “outside agency” without resorting to murder most fowl.

    • jon

      At best it’s murder 1 fowl…

      • Rob

        I fowlly expected to see a couple of turkey jokes

        • X.A. Smith

          The joke IS the turkey!

        • Jeff

          Or maybe flip you the bird.

    • Al

      For that joke, I might have to flip you the bird. 😉

  • Recommended listening while watching the clip:

  • Brian Simon

    Same rules for ducks?

    A couple neighbors feed ducks, in their yard. The ducks live across the street, in minnehaha creek. Thus there is regular duck traffic crossing the street. If you completely stop, they take their sweet time waddling across. But if you merely slow, they fly out of the way.

  • lusophone

    Which one’s the turkey?

    • Jay Sieling

      Pretty sure it is the one wearing the grey coat.

  • Rob

    They dispatched a road crew to dispatch the turkey

  • The Resistance

    It wouldn’t have helped in this case, but turkeys get scared of opening and closed umbrellas. I’ve tried this on the local herd of turkeys that block traffic on a much less travelled road near me and it worked.

    • jon

      It works with seagulls too…. if you do it right you can take down nazi fighter planes… or so sean conner would have me believe.

  • X.A. Smith

    That turkey was playing in traffic on Lyndale & 22nd last week. And it was hanging out in the Wedge Co-op parking lot.

  • Ben Chorn


    “Don’t veer for deer”

    I have always heard not to try to swerve to avoid animals on the road. Losing control over your vehicle is not worth it over trying to not hit a raccoon, etc.

    • jon

      Brakes work best when traveling straight.
      In normal straight line braking your front tires provide 80% of the braking force because the car shifts and most of the weight (and traction) is on the front wheels.
      When you turn you shift the weight to one side, and if done while braking you shift your braking power to one wheel instead of two.
      Anti Lock brakes don’t change this physics (though they ensure you can turn while braking)

      If you want to have some fun you can look up videos of cars being put through the “moose test” (simulating swerving to avoid a moose… in theory) cars are tested at increasing speed until failure, on clean dry pavement…

      So yes, swerving is the wrong answer for most objects crossing your path of travel, hard straight line braking is likely to be the best option, particularly when the thing in your path of travel might change directions unpredictably (like a deer, or a child).

      • Rob

        And if you don’t swerve, it helps guarantee that the deer or moose comes through the front windshield and snuffs you.

        • jon

          If you have a vehicle large enough for a moose to fit through the windshield you likely had to take a course that explained emergency stopping to you already.

          • Rob

            All it takes is part of the moose. And in many cases – as deer/vehicle crash stats make clear – people in such crashes are oftentimes killed or seriously injured precisely because the deer comes up over the hood when struck and goes through the windshield. But if you want to experiment with ramming a deer head-on, have at it.

          • jon

            Graveyards are full of people who knew better than the laws of physics, and the experts…

            The experts say don’t swerve, the laws of physics say don’t swerve, you say swerve…
            And I post this now not because I think I’ll change your mind but because some one else might read this and think your right.

            If you see a deer in the road, hit the brakes…
            If you swerve you’ve trade a reduction in speed for a chance that you might go around the deer… But both your car and the deer can move in unpredictable ways, you might lose control, or you might still hit the deer because it also moved out of the way from where it thought you’d be, given those odds the best bet to reduce the severity of the collision is to reduce your speed.

            Swerving has its place, particularly with objects that have a predictable path of travel… other cars, objects falling off of other cars, things blown into the street or rolling down hill… but animals don’t move in predictable ways, and if you swerve you are trading a chance at a collision at a lower speed for a chance of a collision at higher speed and a chance of losing control of your vehicle. It’s not a smart gamble.

  • Postal Customer

    Bob, can you do a shocking expose on how Minnesotans would rather sit in line for 20 minutes than do the zipper merge?

    • jon

      knock on car windows of people stuck in traffic to ask them about it?

      • Postal Customer

        You could do that. God knows the car won’t be moving.

    • boB from WA

      Some how I don’t think it would be that shocking.

    • Zipper merge doesn’t really save time. It just shortens the line and reduces hassle back where the merge is actually occurring.

      • The Resistance

        I don’t think the point is to save time. It’s to reduce the speed differentials in multiple lanes thereby increasing safety and to also reduce the length of the longer line which might alleviate traffic pressure on on/off ramps behind the line.

        In Minnesota, zipper merges don’t work because we have been generationally programmed in grade school cafeterias to not approve of cutting in line. We are definitely a “no cuts” state. Even when it makes sense to do so.

        Which is why everyone should periodically be re-tested and re-trained how to drive, including a session on turkey chasing protocol.

        • The zipper merge works if you want to zip a half mile down an open lane past dozens of cars. Sure, you’ll get a dirty look when you merge, but it’s worth it.

          • The Resistance

            That’s true.

          • JamieHX

            Unfortunately, some people do more than give you a dirty look. There’s often one self-righteous, mistaken jerk who will straddle two lanes with his car and not let anybody do the zipper merge.

          • I don’t understand your comment. If you’re doing the zipper merge correctly, there is no open lane. Both (or all) lanes remain full until just before the obstruction point.

          • Postal Customer

            People here think you get bonus points for waiting in line.

        • fromthesidelines21

          I’m pretty sure the zipper merge was never mentioned in my drivers ed class back in the 90’s. I think I first heard of it less than 10 years ago. As someone who lives in rural MN when I’m in the cities I try as hard as I can to get into the lane I’ll eventually exit from as fast as possible. That is probably the wrong way to drive but I’m more worried about missing an exit than being a little faster. I’m sure I’ve caused more than a few enthusiastic gestures by my driving. Can you all hurry up and get a real good light rail system so I can park in St.Cloud and not have make you all so upset. 🙂 Yes I’d be happy to have my taxes pay for it.

          • JamieHX

            Yeah, nobody talked about it until about 10 years ago or so. I remember seeing an article in the StarTribune with the headline “The jerks were right” or something like that. I said “Yesss!” out loud. It was the first time I had seen any public mention of it. I was so excited, I cut the article out and made copies to share with people. I think I still have it.

      • JamieHX

        It saves time for the people who DO the zipper merge, compared with the ones who sit and wait.

      • Zipper merge doesn’t really save time.

        It apparently DOES save time.

  • The Resistance

    My quintessential Minnesota traffic moment would be seeing someone slowly
    driving home on their 40 mile one way commute, in the left lane, before
    stopping to text at the entrance of an empty roundabout. This would
    happen on a rainy day and they wouldn’t have their lights on.

    And a turkey would be in the middle of the roundabout taking it all in.

  • Jeremy Canfield

    IT”S A BIRD! It’s going to be there Friday and Saturday until it gets hit and brought home for dinner. If it were a baby human I could see disrupting traffic and risking your life but for real…

  • NG

    *ugh* Freak out. I had a turkey fly in to a minivan I was driving. Shattered the windshield and bent the roof. That was an expensive repair job.