How To Handle A Traffic Stop

For cops, there’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop. For Albuquerque (NM) Police Officer Lou Golson, this traffic stop started out like a thousand other traffic stops but, as the video above shows, this stop was anything but routine.

As a traffic school instructor I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the conduct of police officers during traffic stops but, from the perspective of law enforcement officers, they never know how the situation may turn out and they must always be on guard during a traffic stop. As the person who’s being stopped, you may be angry but the police officer is understandably fearful. When a driver who has been stopped is belligerent or argumentative, the officer on the scene is going to reply in kind.

It’s important for the driver who has been stopped to think about what’s happening from the perspective of the police officer. If a police officer is directing you to pull over, signal for a turn to the right, then move over to the right side of the road and pull over in a way that gives you plenty of clearance between you and the traffic on the road. Pulling far to the right is both for your safety and the safety of the officer.

It’s common for a driver who’s been pulled over to immediately start reaching for their driver’s license or to look in the glove compartment for their vehicle registration. The police officer who sees this activity doesn’t know if you are reaching for your registration or a gun. He or she will be automatically on guard. Once you’ve pulled over, roll down your window and place your hands in clear view on the steering wheel. Don’t try to reach for anything until you’ve been directed to by the officer.

Always wait for and follow the officers directions. When the officer asks for your license and registration, let the officer know that you’ll need to reach for your wallet, purse, or into the glove compartment to get it. You’re nervous but he’s even more nervous; don’t make any quick movements. Communicating openly with the officer will make everything go much more smoothly.

Don’t try to argue with the officer or offer excuses; he or she has already heard them all. The officer often has discretion to issue a warning or give a ticket for a lesser offense; the more cooperative you are, the better the chance that the officer will exercise that discretion.

Another danger involved in a traffic stop is failure of other drivers to obey the “Move Over Law”. If the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, follow the officer’s directions about where to go and stand. The video below shows why you shouldn’t stand close to the roadway or between the vehicles.

Top Safety Rating

More Cars Earn Top Safety Rating In 2015

The top safety rating given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) was earned by even more cars in the 2015 model year than were awarded in the 2014 model year.  While more vehicles went on to win the top safety later in the year, by this time last year, only 39 vehicles had won the rating compared to 71 this year.

The top safety rating was won by more cars in spite of the fact that the IIHS increased the testing criteria in 2012, requiring the small overlap crash test in addition to the front end and side crash tests. The small overlap test crash tests duplicates common crashes where a smaller portion of the front end strikes an object such as a bridge abutment or light pole. After the introduction of the small overlap tests, initially, fewer cars were able to pass the test because manufacturers had designed car frames to absorb the impact of a full front end collision but not necessarily a crash on the front side. Designers had to go back and strengthen the side of the frame and the front door pillar to better protect the occupant space.

According to the IIHS, in order to win the top safety rating, “a vehicle must earn good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front test.”

In addition to the top safety rating, vehicles may also earn a top safety (+) rating if they score “a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.” Front crash prevention includes passive systems that use sonar or cameras to warn a driver of a possible crash situation ahead or active systems that actually apply the brakes to avoid a possible crash.

For 2015, 33 vehicles were awarded the top safety + rating if the manufacturer offered the front crash prevention system as an option. Four models (all Volvos) included the front crash prevention system as standard equipment.

To see which vehicles earned the top safety rating, read: 2015 Top Safety Picks

Photo courtesy: IIHS

respect the truck

Respect The Truck!

Impatient drivers who don’t respect the truck and stay out of a truck’s “no zones” generally come out on the losing end.

A trucker posted the video above on Liveleak.com of a driver who failed to give clear space between her and the truck before pulling in front of the truck. As you can see in the video, things didn’t go well for the driver of the car. Fortunately, the driver of this car received only minor injuries but she still had to be transported to a hospital. It could have gone much worse for her.

“No zones” refer to the space around a truck that the trucker can’t see and that drivers should remain clear of. A large truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and there is no possible way that a vehicle weighing that much, traveling at highway speeds, can stop quickly.

Respect the truck

When passing a truck, drivers should follow the rule that says “If you can’t see the drivers face in his rearview mirror, he can’t see you.” After passing, drivers who want to pull in front of a truck should wait until they can see both of the truck’s headlights in their center rearview mirror before moving into the lane ahead of the truck. Using that guide should give you enough clear space ahead of the truck to avoid danger.

Drivers need to respect the truck and realize that the truck doesn’t have the same maneuvering or stopping abilities as a small car. If they expect the truck to be able to stop quickly, or maneuver to avoid a crash, they’re going to be disappointed. In more than 70 percent of crashes involving cars and trucks, the car driver is at fault.

St. Pete Beach

How To Handle A Traffic Ticket In St. Pete Beach Florida

St. Pete Beach is a small town with only 2.2 square miles of land area and less than 10,000 permanent residents but, for a small town, it has some major traffic problems. With thousands of tourists flocking to St. Pete Beach every year and only one major road in and out, the town experiences traffic incidents out of proportion to its small size and population. Continue Reading

Traffic deaths declined

Traffic Deaths Declined To New Lows In 2013

Traffic deaths declined in 2013 by 3.1 percent over the previous year according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 32,719 highway deaths in 2013 represents the lowest number of highway deaths since recording began in 1975. Traffic injuries also declined by 2.1 percent. Continue Reading