Minnesota Highway Officials Puzzled by Pac-Man

Highway officials in Minnesota had a pre-holiday visit from Pac-Man recently.

As reported by the Associated Press, someone added an unauthorized painting of the classic video game character to the state’s Highway 55.

We haven’t seen a photo so far, but here’s how the AP describes Pac-Man’s unofficial role in the traffic flow: 

Pac-Man is back. Only this time, he’s bigger — and he’s gobbling up dots on Highway 55.

Large white dots painted on the highway to deter motorists from tailgating have been joined by a giant, yellow image of the video game icon.

The image of Pac-Man was placed on the road surface last month, and its creators have snuck back at least once to touch it up. Traffic engineer Tom Dumont was not pleased:

I’d hate to say positive things because I don’t want to encourage people to try to paint something on a busy highway. But at least it’s made the project a little more noteworthy.

Highway engineer Wayne Fingalson saw some humor in the situation:

It’s kind of comical. Somebody really did a good job of meticulously putting that (Pac-Man) in the dots.

The 7-foot anti-tailgating dots are spaced 225 feet apart and signs along the highway advise motorists to maintain two dots between their car and the one in front. That’s the distance needed to stop in three seconds at 55 MPH

UPDATE: GP reader Dave Mooney sent in a pic of the dot-gobbling Route 55 Pac-Man. Thanks, Dave!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    Andrew says:

    It seems like these dots don’t help at all. I mean, people tailgate the whole frickin’ time. They thing there just dots on a road where you can drive like an idiot!

  2. 0
    Andrew the Great and annoying says says:

    I go by this thing from time to time , and I still laugh at it. It seems to be fading away though. Earlier there was a blue one, but then it faded off.

  3. 0
    Wookiee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As a Minnesotan, I wish I could shake the hands of those responsible. It’s nice to know there are still gamers out there who enjoy harmless, flying pecker-less pranks.

  4. 0
    Cow of Moo says:

    I actually am from the town this is from and I personally know those responsible. It has worn away recently due to the weather and plowing but rumor has it Mrs. Pacman will be joining a new Mr. Pacman this spring as weather improves.

  5. 0
    Terminator44 says:

    Hmm, I’ve never heard of these white dots before. I’ve never heard of them being used here in Ohio, anyway.

    Still, if you’re going to put a row of white dots somewhere, you should know that someone is going to connect it to Pac-Man, considering how iconic he is. Those highway engineers should have seen this coming a mile away.

  6. 0
    Iliad says:

    @Hexar, they’re factoring in reaction time I assume, not to mention its minnesota.. snow and ice anyone? Keep in mind the pic is of a different state.

    But yeah, I gotta see this I live in minnesota too, this is fucking hilarious.

  7. 0
    Brandon ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    XD Thats great, thats just great. Lol, I can see ol’ Jack Thompson now. “Pac-Man causes traffic accidents” or better yet. “Pac-Man encourges people to play in the streets” or something similar to that.

  8. 0
    Vladimir ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That’s cute, but I can imagine there will be some increased traffic with people going to see the Pac-Man painting, which will lead to increased traffic accidents as people take their eyes off the road. :)

    Anyway, those white dots sound like a good idea. Of course, retards who like to stay two inches behind the vehicle in front of them will still do it, regardless of anything the authorities put up to remind them not to.

  9. 0
    ~the1jeffy says:

    @ Hexar

    No. You can’t. I suggest you research it. 450 feet is just over 5 seconds at 55 MPH. Assuming around 2 seconds for reaction time, leaves only 274 feet to stop in 3seconds. So, yes, your car can stop in that amount of distance, but I don’t care how ‘spectacular’ your brakes are, you’re not going to come to a dead stop in ‘much less than’ 450 feet. The dots on the road are well designed and researched. It always shocks me just how little most people seem to know about the physics of driving a car.

    The dots are designed to take into account alertness levels, reaction times, brake effectiveness, and mediocre road conditions. So, they give a 3 second cushion to the bare minimum of 185 stopping feet (all things being perfect).

  10. 0
    Brokenscope ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Ryan F.

    God forbid GP ever puts up a story that might be remotely funny.

    Games and culture. Things like this are examples of how games are affecting our culture and the depth at which they have penetrated. Don’t take the name quite so literally.

  11. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    In some counties, they now have a radar gun that can check the distance between cars, to let the officer know if someone’s tailgating. Could be coordinated with photo-radar, and red-light cameras, to automatically ticket you if you drive like a retard. Nothing smartens people up but hitting them in their wallets…

  12. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Ryan F.

    Pac-man painted on road = video game related state vandalism/civil disobedience. State politics involved, due to it being a state-run construction project. Therefore games & politics. 😉

  13. 0
    Fleeing From MN Since 1980 says:

    Oh what a shock, not.

    Life in Minnesota is so uninspired especially in the dead of winter. Gives people a lot of time to think up stuff like this.

Leave a Reply