Traffic Tip Tuesday 07-19-16

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.

Traffic Crash with Road Obstruction 07-14-16

Cortez Boulevard and Suncoast Parkway

Cortez Boulevard is BLOCKED West Bound.

Please use an alternate route or expect delays until the roadway can be cleared (usually about 30 – 45 minutes).

For a real-time look at Hernando County Traffic Accidents and Responses – please visit the following link:

http://www.hernandosheriff.org/applications/cadinternetportal/

Traffic Tip Tuesday 07-05-16

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.

Traffic Crash with Road Obstruction 06-28-16

Cortez Boulevard and Barclay Avenue

Cortez Boulevard is BLOCKED.

Please use an alternate route or expect delays until the roadway can be cleared (usually about 30 – 45 minutes).

For a real-time look at Hernando County Traffic Accidents and Responses – please visit the following link:

http://www.hernandosheriff.org/applications/cadinternetportal/

Traffic Tip Tuesday 06-21-16

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.

Traffic Crash with Road Obstruction 06-15-16

Landover Boulevard and Elgin Boulevard

Multiple vehicles involved.

Please use an alternate route or expect delays until the roadway can be cleared (usually about 30 – 45 minutes).

For a real-time look at Hernando County Traffic Accidents and Responses – please visit the following link:

http://www.hernandosheriff.org/applications/cadinternetportal/

Traffic Tip Tuesday 06-14-16

By Sergeant Scott Reak

School is out, watch out. For kids that is. The school year has ended. Summer break brings a bag mixed emotions. Children are celebrating being able to sleep in and stay home all day. Parents are apprehensive for the same reasons. Either way, kids get bored, and will eventually find their way outside for activities. Summertime, along with carefree children, present additional hazards and areas of concern for motorists to be aware of.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 06-14-16

Although drivers should be cautious all year long, pay extra attention while driving through neighborhoods during the summer break, as children are out and about. While you are driving, scan the area around you for children. Kids can be anywhere; walking, biking, or just playing near the roadway. Children are often unpredictable and unaware of the dangers that surround them. If you see kids near the road, slow down. Bicycles or toys near the roadway are clues that children may be playing. Playgrounds and parks are also areas with a high concentration of children. Use caution.

Even at slow speeds, kids can be in danger. Remember to check behind your vehicle before backing. Children are small, and can “hide” below your line of sight. Parking lots are another problematic area.

Parents, you’re not off the hook. Keep an eye on your kids. Make sure that they are aware of the hazards that roads present. Don’t leave your kids unattended, and keep them out of roadway traffic. Pay special attention in high traffic areas, such as parking lots, where lower speeds give the perception of safety.

It only takes a fraction of a second for an accident or injury to occur. Together, we can make sure that our children make it back to school safely without a tragic, traffic related event. Drive careful, kids are everywhere.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 06-07-16

By Sergeant Scott Reak

With all of this rain our area has experienced over the past few days, and being solidly within hurricane season, it’s hard to overlook the possibility of flooded roads. Even considering the extensive engineering roadways are constructed with, heavy rains can often overload the drainage that’s in place. Road closures, as a result of flooding, become common when the rain has nowhere to go. Being extra vigilant during these periods of storms can mean the difference in having a pair of wet shoes or swimming to high ground.

Avoid driving through the flood waters. As most Florida drivers know, it only takes a little water to affect the handling of your vehicle. A smaller vehicle can be swept off the road in about 12 inches of moving water, with 2 feet of water being capable of carrying away most vehicles. Vehicles that are caught in moving water, are almost always carried away to deeper water. If for some reason your vehicle begins to sink underwater, abandon ship. Your car won’t swim, but you can.

Stop for barricades. Find another route. Luckily for you someone else has already tested the depths of the water ahead. Most likely the end result was less than desirable, forcing the road closure. The barricade wasn’t set up for fun, or to inconvenience you; It’s there solely to keep you out of danger. Learn from someone else’s mistake and choose an alternative route.

Alert the Sheriff’s Office if you observe a flooded area. We can send personnel to evaluate the situation.

If you plan on disregarding the first few points, consider the following:

Hidden obstacles. Ask yourself: What’s in the water ahead? Are there any obstructions laying beneath the water surface? An open storm drain or a tree branch? Hopefully the road ahead is still intact. If you can’t tell, turn around.

Downed power lines. The same reason we don’t use hair driers in the bath or shower, is the same reason we don’t want to drive through water with a live wire in it: electric shock. The current in a typical residential power line can easily kill a person. Water, due to its impurities, is an efficient conductor of electricity. Add the fact that water can easily surround you, and you can easily see how dangerous this situation can become.

Your vehicle may stall while crossing pooled water. You’ve gone too far and didn’t make it. A vehicle’s ignition should not get wet, and will easily shut down if exposed to water. It is highly unlikely that your vehicle will re-start until “dried out.” Deep water may also cause your engine to hydrostatic lock, or hydrolock for short. Hydrolocking is one of the most damaging events your engine could experience. Essentially your engine is full of water, prohibiting the moving parts from moving. This happens when the engine air intake draws in water. It will not restart. If that sounds bad, you’d be right. Unless of course you’ve been looking for a reason to get a replacement engine.

It’s not good for your vehicle over the long term. Even if the water doesn’t damage the engine or enter the cabin, water penetrates bearings, flushing the grease away, and can also compromise electrical, power steering, emissions and brake components. Salt water is especially damaging.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office wishes to protect our citizens and visitors to the best of our ability. Please allow us to keep you and your families safe during times of inclement weather. Use good judgment, be careful and stay dry.

Traffic Tip Tuesday 05-17-16

Aggressive drivers are a dangerous nuisance on our roadways. Certainly risky, aggressive driving can quickly become deadly.

Aggressive driving behavior is attributed to more than half of all fatal crashes on our roadways today.

We often hear the phrase “Aggressive Driving” in reference to motor vehicle safety, but the definition may not be clear to all of us. I’ll refer to the Florida State Uniform Traffic Control laws for an accurate definition in our state.

The state of Florida defines Aggressive Driving as committing two of the following acts simultaneously or in succession:

-Exceeding a posted speed limit
-Unsafely or improperly changing lanes
-Following another vehicle too closely
-Failing to yield to another vehicle’s right-of-way
-Improperly passing
-Violating a traffic control and signaling device

I’m sure if you’ve been driving any length of time that you’ve encountered some type of aggressive driving on the roadway.

A single aggressive act by one driver, often triggers aggressive responses from other drivers exacerbating the situation.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office actively enforces aggressive driving, and investigates crashes to determine whether aggressive driving is a factor.

Hopefully, an understanding of what constitutes aggressive driving can promote safer driving practices. Please drive safely and courteously.