Cops offer “slew of vital information” about road safety

The Every 15 Minutes program enforces what every driver should know: don’t drink and drive. But what other rules exist that beginning – or experienced – drivers may be neglecting?

Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Vales, Castro Valley High’s school resource officer, and CHP Officer Daniel Jacowitz offered a slew of vital information that could help drivers avoid expensive tickets and save lives.

  • “It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started driving; if you’re behind the wheel as a licensed driver, you are responsible for the rules of the road.”
  • Claiming to have not known that you were going too fast, or that you couldn’t make a U-turn at that intersection, etc., is not a valid excuse.
  • “Crying will not get you out of a ticket. Neither will being a good-looking girl.”
  • DUIs will still be issued to drivers impaired by legal substances.
  • Over-the-counter drugs, such as Nyquil, Benadryl, or Sudafed, and prescription drugs like Vicodin can be just as dangerous as marijuana or alcohol when driving. One in five drivers on the road are impaired in some way.
  • Be familiar with your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system. Right before the wheels lock up to prevent skidding, these will automatically engage to enable the driver to steer while the car stops. When the anti-lock brakes do engage, the brake pedal will pulse quickly, and you should “push down, not pump” like you would regularly.
  • Keep a high visual horizon (monitor the traffic ahead), to anticipate when to slow down.
  • “Look at the big picture,” not just what’s in front of you.
  • Check for back-up lights on cars in parking lots because they may not bother to look before they pull out.
  • Keep an eye out for people exiting from cars on the side of the road.
  • Yield to all pedestrians.
  • “Speeding is what kills kids, [so] go slow, and go slow, and go slow.”

– Officer Vales

  • If it is absolutely crucial that you take a phone call, pull off the freeway, park in a safe location and talk there.
  • Most drivers believe following one to three car lengths away from the car ahead on a freeway is an acceptable cushion of space. However, at 65 mph, a vehicle on average requires 220 feet to come to a complete stop. Maintain a safer cushion of ten car lengths, or about one hundred feet, when trailing the car in front of you instead.
  • When changing lanes, wait three to five seconds, check your rearview and sideview mirrors, and look over your shoulder. Avoid moving at the same time as other cars that are changing lanes adjacent to or into yours.

– Officer Jacowitz

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