If you were lucky today, you would have been able to experience the first substantial rain we’ve got in our area in quite some time. An asset to our local flora, our yards will green and hopefully our wildlife areas will be less prone to fire if the rain continues.
Also with the rain comes our duty as motorists to use our headlights while driving on our roadways. I know it’s been a while, but please remember to use your headlights in the rain. It’s the law, and it helps keep you safe by allowing other motorists to see you.
The school year in Hernando County starts tomorrow. Nervous and excited children will be waiting for the bus, or walking to their zoned school. Parents will be dropping children off and heading to work. With all that’s going on during school hours, driver’s need be mindful of the following:
Drive cautiously through neighborhoods, children could be anywhere. Many children walk to school.
Give yourself extra time. Children will be finding new bus stops and busses traveling new routes. This will cause congestion.
Avoid school zones. If you have another way to go, use it. School zones get backed up, especially during the first couple of weeks of school.
Be aware of bus stops. From either direction, traffic is required to stop if the bus’ red lights are activated.
Avoid distractions. Your attention is critical during school hours. Texting is a big distraction, and it’s also illegal. Don’t do it.
If an emergency arises, call 9-1-1.
As a community we need to be united in ensuring that our youngest citizen’s get to school safely. With parents and motorists help, we can get the kids to their destinations without incident. Together we can have a safe school year on our roadways. Drive careful.
Traffic stops are one of the ways law enforcement educates drivers of an infraction that has been observed. One of the best tips that I can provide to a driver involved in a traffic stop is to stay in the vehicle when you are being stopped. I have had many people over the years think that the right thing to do was to get out of their vehicle to talk about it. Unequivocally, I can tell you that getting out is not the best option.
Law enforcement officers from across the country agree, that it’s safer for all involved if drivers stay in their vehicle during a traffic stop. Drivers typically have no reason to leave the safety of their vehicle unless instructed to by the deputy on scene. Think about it, why leave a structure that was designed to be crashed to try your luck on your own? Just because you’ve been stopped doesn’t mean that the remainder of motorized traffic won’t continue to drive by. They will, and hopefully even stay in the appropriate lane of travel during the stop. If you need to egress for some type of exigent circumstance, communicate that to the law enforcement officer. I’m sure it can be worked out.
If you consider the officer’s safety, bad guys don’t and won’t ask to leave the vehicle, they just get out. Sometimes it’s to run, sometimes it’s to cause harm; either way is less than desirable for the deputy trying to do their job. Law enforcement is trained to handle threats, and the last thing an officer wants is to perceive a driver as a threat, when it’s simply a misunderstanding. Staying in the vehicle helps clarify the driver’s demeanor.
Folks, we want to get you home safely to your families and responsibilities. We need to keep our community safe as well. With your cooperation, you can help us with our responsibility to the community and its citizens. Thank you for your support.
From the pristine, crystal clear waters of the Weeki Wachee River, to the wild, natural beauty of the Withlacoochee River, we are blessed to have some appealing natural resources in our community. The journey to these destinations isn’t always so alluring thanks to litter. As a whole, our community is clean and well kept, but litter always seems to show up. Litter can manifest in many forms, from a cigarette butt or a cheeseburger wrapper, to a vehicle component abandoned by its host. Litter can become dangerous when in the roadway, and has been a contributing factor in many crashes throughout the country.
I’d like to believe that most people don’t intentionally litter. Debris falling from a vehicle during loading or unloading, or unsecured trash flying out of a truck bed are prime examples. Although not an excuse, people think that littering is someone else’s problem. In reality we all pay for littering. That’s right, even when able to utilize an inmate workforce, our tax dollars are used to pay for roadway cleanup.
Steps that we can take to reduce litter on our roadways:
Don’t throw trash out the window. Hopefully that one was obvious.
Keep a trash bag in your vehicle. Use it.
Secure trash and other debris from blowing out of the bed of your truck.
If you see trash, pick it up. Nature and the community will thank you.
Litter is not only distracting to the public, but it adversely affects the safety of animals, drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s also illegal, punishable with a fine or arrest, depending on the circumstances. Let’s do the right thing and leave our county’s guests with memories of a clean, litter free environment.
Many of us have been stopped by law enforcement while driving our vehicles for a traffic infraction. As a result, we’re commonly asked about the proper protocol to follow when stopped by a law enforcement officer in your vehicle. Whether it’s because of a headlamp out, or mistakenly exceeding the speed limit, the driver of the vehicle and the law enforcement officer wish to feel safe. Here’s some advice on how to properly handle a traffic stop:
Wait inside your vehicle for the deputy to approach. Getting out of a vehicle quickly during a traffic stop is a common behavior trait of criminals, who intend to flee or cause harm to the deputy. Please stay put. If there’s a reason you need to get out, explain it to the deputy when he/she gets to your window.
Place your hands on the steering wheel. This shows us that there’s nothing in your hands, and that you’re not reaching for anything. Again, criminals like to hide items in their hands, oftentimes weapons or narcotics. The law enforcement officer will allow you to obtain your license and registration, there’s no hurry.
If you are asked to leave your vehicle, do so slowly without threatening actions. Nobody wants to get hurt. You want to go home safely and so do we.
If you receive a citation, you will have a chance to explain your account in traffic court. The side of the road is not the place for a traffic hearing, it’s dangerous. If the offense is particularly egregious, you may even wish to solicit legal representation.
Finally, stay calm. Arguments, disorderly or abusive actions may end poorly for the driver or the officer. At the end of the day, it’s only a traffic stop, and acting out may only cause everyone greater grief.
Most traffic stops go completely fine, with no ill complications. Help us get you back on the road expeditiously by thinking about your actions and acting appropriately on a traffic stop. It benefits all of us. Drive carefully.
Window tinting is commonplace in the hot climate of Florida. It helps keep the sun out of our eyes, and our vehicle interior cool. We get asked by many citizens as to the legality of window tint. So, here’s the deal: The front side windows must allow 28% or more light transmission. The side windows and rear window behind the driver and front seat passenger are allowed to be darker, as long as they allow 15% or more light transmission. Window tinting is also allowed on a front windshield as long as it remains above the AS-1 line on the windshield.
Anything lower than these points is a non-criminal traffic infraction.
As a final point on window tinting, the operator of a vehicle is responsible for the legality of the window tint of the vehicle that they are operating. As I have heard many times, “I bought the car like this,” is not an appropriate answer. Unfortunately, the previous owner or dealer may not have adhered to the window tint laws of our state, so be aware. Following these guidelines will keep you legal and cool. Drive careful.