Traffic Tip Tuesday 05-11-16

Continuing our theme of Motorcycle Safety Awareness for the month of May, we’re going to discuss motorcycle rider conspicuity. In other words, making motorcycles and their riders easier to see. Making motorcycles more conspicuous will result in less right of way violations for a motorcycle and its occupants, ultimately reducing crashes and other perilous events. Here’s a few ideas to make sure that a motorcyclist can be seen in a crowd of traffic:

Bright Colors – Obviously easier to see day or night, bright colors are more likely to be noticed than neutral or muted colors.

Reflective Vests – Enhancing a rider’s attire with a reflective vest can help other driver’s notice you. A reflective vest is a great choice if you use your motorcycle to commute, and your workplace has a specific dress code that does not include one piece leather race suits adorned with sponsor patches. Reflective vests are relatively inexpensive and breathe well, a boon to Florida riders.

Reflective Tape/Decals/Patches – These small additions to your riding gear could make all the difference in the wearer’s ability to be seen, especially at night. Your helmet is the highest point on a motorcycle rider adding reflective tape or decals on a helmet may be the best option in terms of long range visibility. Many riders choose to decorate their bikes with decals, why not add a couple that could potentially save a crash?

Headlights – This one is probably the easiest to use, because your motorcycle came with one, and hopefully the operator already possesses the necessary skill to activate the headlight. Many of the newer motorcycles have headlights that activate automatically when the ignition is on, if yours doesn’t, use the low beam. The low beam should provide sufficient lighting even during daytime hours, and will not tax a motorcycle’s delicate charging system.

Headlight Modulator – Federal law allows the use of headlight modulators on motorcycles. What’s a headlight modulator? A headlight modulator makes your headlight appear to flash. It intermittently lowers and raises the intensity of a headlight. So if you’ve ever seen a motorcycle constantly flashing it’s headlamp and wondered what was wrong with the motorcycle, the answer is most likely nothing; It’s equipped with a headlight modulator. Modulators are available in vehicle specific and universal fit applications and are commonly available at motorcycle shops.

Lane position – Let’s not forget lane positioning. As a motorcycle operator, choosing your position in a lane of travel can be very advantageous to your visibility. If multiple lanes are available, avoid the right lane to reduce interaction with traffic entering and leaving the roadway.

Some riders may balk at these tips, but hopefully all will take something positive away from these ideas. In the end, being conspicuous may keep another motorist from attempting to occupy the same space as you while travelling the roadways. Please ride and drive safely. Stay alert, and share the road.

TRAFFIC STOPS April 2016

During the month of April 2016, Hernando County deputies conducted 3,011 TRAFFIC STOPS throughout Hernando County.

This data does not include Traffic Stops conducted by the Brooksville Police Department or the Florida Highway Patrol.

Traffic Enforcement is conducted daily to keep Hernando County residents and visitors who travel our roadways safe.

If you have a traffic complaint or would like to request Traffic Enforcement, please contact our office at 352-754-6830 so we can obtain the required information.

Thank you.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 04-03-16

Riding a motorcycle can be a great experience. Riding into the wind and the connection a rider has to the machine they are on adds to the excitement. Motorcycle riding has even often been associated with “freedom.” Unfortunately these attributes also pose a danger to the rider or passenger of a motorcycle. With May being recognized as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, let’s do a rundown of appropriate safety gear to use while piloting a motorcycle.

Helmets. Everyone has an opinion on them. Helmets are probably the single most important piece of safety equipment you could use with a motorcycle. Head trauma is a real danger to motorcyclists. Remember, motorcyclists are not encased in the “cage” of an automobile, and have very little to protect them. But doesn’t the law say that helmets are optional? That depends. In Florida, a rider may not utilize a helmet if they are at least 21 years of age and have at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash. For some, the choice is yours. If you’re under 21 years of age, or without the proper medical coverage, there are many comfortable, stylish helmets to choose from.

Eyewear. This is mandatory in Florida for all riders, no exclusions. A full faced helmet covers the eyewear requirement. I imagine that anyone that has been hit in the face with an insect or other debris at highway speeds understands the reasons why eyewear is not optional.

Gloves. Gloves reduce hand fatigue and offer excellent hand protection if the unexpected happens. Leather construction is typically believed to be better than synthetic fabrics, although the synthetics are catching up.

Long Sleeved Shirt/Jacket and Pants. Road rash is terrible. We’d prefer you to keep your skin on your body, and not donate it to the roadway. Long pants and jackets protect a rider from abrasions and the elements of the outdoors. Like gloves, leather construction is often the better choice for abrasion resistance, with the textiles often being superior in weather resistance. Today, energy absorbing armor is often incorporated into clothing providing additional safety

Boots or Footwear with ankle protection. Your ankles are vulnerable on a motorcycle. If for some unforeseen reason you end up laying the motorcycle down, you’ll appreciate the added protection. Riding boots are often designed with reinforced material in the toe area for shifter operation, and a stiff sole for crush resistance.

While this list is not all-encompassing, it represents the basic equipment that all motorcycle riders should consider before throwing your leg over the machine. The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office respects a Motorcycle operator’s desire to ride. We even use them ourselves to enforce traffic regulations throughout our community. Our mission is to ensure that all of our citizens and visitors make it home safely. Please ride responsibly and safely.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 04-19-16

Child safety seats, when used correctly, can reduce the risk of death to infants by 71 percent, and 54 percent for children aged 1-4. The single most important thing you can do to protect your children is to buckle them up properly, every time, in the right seat.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 04-19-16

Let’s review car safety seat guidelines as defined by Florida law:

Children through 3 years old require a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat ~

Children 4 through 5 years of age require a separate carrier, an integrated child seat or a child booster seat ~

Children 5 through 18 years must be restrained by a safety belt.

To add to the law, children are typically safer in a backseat position of the vehicle. Also, never put a rear facing infant or convertible safety seat in the front passenger seat if the vehicle is equipped with an active passenger airbag.

Our children are our most precious cargo. It’s our responsibility, as parents and guardians, to make sure they make it to their destination safely.

TRAFFIC TIP TUESDAY 04-12-16

This may sound like common sense: Turn your headlights on while driving at night. Over and over, vehicles are being observed driving down the road with no operational vehicle lighting. Many drivers not even realizing/forgetting to turn on their lights.

TRAFFIC TIP TUESDAY 04-13-16

Why would that be?

Today’s cars and trucks are more sophisticated than ever. Many vehicles today are equipped with an illuminated instrument panel even when the headlights are not turned on, or set in an automatic mode. In previous years, dashboard lights were only lit when the exterior lighting was operated. Now they’re on day or night by design. Daytime running lights, while a safety asset during daylight, add to the nighttime deception. Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) were designed primarily to increase your vehicle’s visibility to other drivers, using your headlamps. Tail lamps are completely independent of DRLs, and not activated unless the service lighting has been turned on, leaving the rear of your vehicle particularly vulnerable. Also, DRLs typically emit a lower wattage illumination than the service lighting on a vehicle, which is insufficient for night operation. This equipment, although beneficial, trick drivers into believing their lights are on, even when they’re not.

The next time you’re preparing for a nighttime trip, make sure your service lights are functioning. See and be seen.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 04-05-16

April has been commemorated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving comes in various forms, from texting while driving, to much simpler acts, such as adjusting the radio or climate control, which can prove just as hazardous. What are driving distractions? Any stimulus that contains a distraction component:

* Visual Distraction – Taking your eyes off the road.

* Manual Distraction – Taking your hands or feet off the steering wheel, or controls.

* Cognitive Distraction – Taking your mind off the task at hand, in this case driving.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 04-05-16

So why is texting and driving so dangerous? It involves all three components of distraction, making it a recipe for disaster. But texting isn’t the only culprit.

Talking on a cell phone, tending to a child or other occupant, eating, drinking, adjusting vehicle settings, even putting on make-up involve some, if not all of the components of distracted driving.

Distracted driving poses a danger to all users of our roadways. Successful, incident free driving involves keeping your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind on driving your vehicle.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 03-29-2016

It’s warming up, and motorcycles are out. Motorcyclists are entitled to the same rights as any other driver on the roadways. Unfortunately motorcycles are typically much smaller than a car or truck, making them much harder to see. In an effort to minimize motorcycle related crashes, use the following tips:

Traffic Tip Tuesday 03-29-2016

Keep an eye out. Motorcycles easily blend in with other vehicular traffic, and are often unnoticed. Train yourself to look for motorcycles.

Check your blind spots. Motorcycles can easily hide in the blind spots that many vehicles have. Check often.

It’s harder to judge a motorcycle’s distance or speed. Again, due to a motorcycle’s size, it may look further away than it is. Assume the motorcycle is closer than it is.

Give them room. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to weather conditions and sometimes have to adjust their riding style to accommodate. Road hazards also play a role in a motorcyclist’s path of travel. Hazards that may be inconsequential to a four wheeled motorist could be disastrous to a motorcycle if not avoided. Oily roadways and asphalt related road failures are prime examples.

By having some understanding of our two wheeled traffic, traffic accidents can be reduced, making our roadways safer. Remember to share the road.