Imagine that you’re driving on a North Dakota highway, and nature calls. It happens to all of us. So, you decide you will just take the next exit. The problem is when you get to the exit, you read the sign that says, “No Services.” Yikes!

There’s an easy way to help with this situation. The North Dakota Department of Transportation needs to put up road signs that tell us how close the next rest stop is. I know there are signs alerting us to rest areas when you are within two miles of one. I’m talking about letting us know when we are in the middle of nowhere, and need to start thinking about a trip to a restroom. I know what many of you readers are saying, especially the young ones: Just look it up on your phone. Well, I can’t. I’m driving. Meantime, someone is screaming in the backseat that he needs to go to the bathroom.

There is a model for this request. It’s the state of Minnesota. When driving on Interstate 94, you will see signs that tell you the next rest area is 24 miles away, 53 miles away, or some other figure. This is very comforting. It helps people plan.

According to the NDDOT, a highway sign costs about $6,000. There are 28 rest stops in the state. So, if you put up two more signs per rest stop, the cost is only $336,000. That’s chump change for state government. That’s less than the University of North Dakota hockey coach earns every year. And this would be a one-time expense. While they are at it, the state should allow advertising of restaurants and service stations on exit signs. These simple actions will make North Dakota highways more driver and passenger friendly.

  • Speaking of nature calling, I remember covering a story for WDAY-TV with a talented and intense photographer, who was driving. When we were about three hours out of Fargo, I told him I needed a bathroom break, and asked him to stop at a nearby gas station. He refused.

“We don’t have time for that,” he said. So, he kept on driving. Well, this was a problem that was not going away. About 10 miles later, I saw a bar on the side of the road (thank goodness), and told him I needed to call our news director. Cellphones hadn’t been invented. He stopped, and I ran into the men’s room.

  • Along those lines, why is there only one unisex bathroom that only one person can use at a time at the Driver’s License building in Fargo? I recently went there to renew my license, and the building was packed. It took me almost as long to get into the bathroom as it did to get my license.
  • Speaking of driving, I just passed a windmill, so I’m off to see a doctor.