Rules for Driving on I-229 in Sioux Falls
Whether you’re new to Sioux Falls or if you’re a lifelong resident, we all need a refresher about the ritual involved with driving on I-229.
It’s known as ‘The Racetrack’ or ‘The Loop,’ but whatever you call it I-229 is the great road that connects our city.
Don’t let the name fool you though. It’s technically an Interstate Highway, but driving on it is not like taking I-90 to the Cities or trekking down I-29 to visit grandma in Worthing. I-229 is four to six lanes of 65 mile-per-hour serious business. And that serious business requires some rules.
Now, you might think, “Hey, I’m cruising along at 65, there are at least two lanes of traffic and I see on and off ramps; so this must be time to set it and forget while I head to Louise Avenue.” NO! No, no, no. There is too much traffic and too much lane-changing going on for you to be hanging out. “But, But, But, if everyone goes the speed limit that won’t be a problem.” Perhaps, but, here in reality that is not, has not and never will be the case. There are times a driver needs to speed up or slow down a little. The I-229 driver needs to be ready to react quickly. There’s cars coming on and going off at every exit, plus you’re not going to be on the road for more than a dozen minutes. Cruise control in I-229 just creates a bottleneck.
This may come as a surprise to some, but humans cannot read each other’s minds. I know, it sucks, but everyone else in the world doesn’t know how important it is that you get to that place you’re going. Maybe in the future our vehicles will come equipped with some sort of way to signal to other drivers what we need to do. Perhaps some sort of flashing light on the outside of the car that is controlled by a stick on the steering wheel.
Wait a sec, I’m being told that that is a real thing, OK never mind.
Anyway, If someone want to merge, then SIGNAL! Do not rely on some unwritten tradition of interstate travel where the car on the interstate will automatically swing left to get out of the merger’s way. This isn’t the middle of nowhere travel, the volume of traffic on 229 makes that impractical and dangerous. If you need to get over signal, and not just as the tires start to cross the line, turn on the single, give the other cars a second to move, slow down or speed up then get over.
Of course traffic conditions may make this difficult at times. But, whenever possible the on-ramps should be used to get up to the speed of traffic. Don’t mosey up to 229, try to slip into the flow and then try to defy Sammy Hagar.
I get it. When I first moved to Sioux Falls I didn’t know where I was going and the speed and traffic of 229 made me too nervous to drive on it. Sioux Falls has a great system of surface streets. While there are traffic lights and added drive times, a driver can get around pretty good on the regular roads. But, if a driver cannot handle the number of vehicles going the speed necessary on The Loop, than stay off, for the safety of everyone.