I'm not sure that I've ever seen anyone do this in Minnesota; but from now on, I'm going to be paying more attention. Have you ever passed a car on the side of the road that had a white towel or a white plastic grocery bag tied to the mirror? Did you think it was just holding the mirror on the vehicle? Perhaps you thought it was garbage and just got stuck on the car as it was flying by in the wind. There are a couple of different reasons for tying a white plastic grocery bag or towel to your vehicle window and I thought I would share them with you.

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Photo by Kelly Cordes
Photo by Kelly Cordes


In some instances, people will tie something white to their mirror if they are having a medical emergency or some other type of emergency where they can't get help any other way.  It could be that someone is having a heart attack, or possibly they were headed to the hospital for the birth of a child, and they aren't going to make it. If you see people in the vehicle, and there's a white towel or plastic bag tied to the mirror, you may want to call 911 and tell someone what's happening.


I hate to say it, but it could also be someone trying to take advantage of your good nature. You stop to help someone in need, and they rob you; Take your wallet, and your vehicle, and leave you stranded. That's why I say; approach with caution. If you decide you are going to stop and help someone, make sure you call someone first to let them know where you are, and what you're doing.


I've read articles that say in North Carolina, it states in their handbook, that a white towel tied to a mirror of a broken-down vehicle, means that you are coming back for the vehicle, and asking law enforcement to please not tow you.  I looked for anything like this in the Minnesota Driver's Manual, and there was nothing said about a white towel. However, it did say to tie something red to your antenna if you were in need of help.



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