Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chief's June 2007 Message Article

Tips for Avoiding Traffic Collisions

  • Avoid drinking and driving. How many times have you heard this advice? And still, on average, one person in the U.S. dies in an alcohol related crash every 45 minutes. To put this number in perspective, think of the crowd of fans that come to see the Nationals at RFK stadium on opening day. The number of fans in the stadium is roughly the same as those who have died in alcohol related crashes in the past two years!
  • Minimize distractions. Drivers can minimize their distractions by stopping in a safe place to pick up items that have been dropped, change radio stations or the current CD, consult a map or a newspaper, and take care of personal needs such as eating or personal grooming. Probably the biggest distraction, and the one that has drawn the most attention from citizens and lawmakers is talking on a cell phone. If you don’t have a hands free device, you should stop in a safe place to dial numbers and talk on your cell phone. Once you cross into DC, talking on a cell phone without using a hands free device is a $100 fine!

  • Properly maintain your vehicle. Tune up cars according to the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. Check your tires at least monthly for signs of wear or damage, and for proper inflation. Properly inflated tires are not only necessary to maintain proper traction and control of your vehicle, but will also help save gas. Under inflated tires can reduce your gas mileage by one or more miles per gallon.

  • Do not encourage aggressive drivers. Let aggressive driving behavior roll off your shoulders, or call the police. Losing your temper can only worsen the situation.

  • Leave a safe distance between your car and others around you. For every ten miles per hour of speed, leave at least one full car length between you and the car in front of you. If another driver is tailgating you, do not speed up to try and increase the distance. That’s generally what they want you to do. Slow down to encourage the tailgater to do the same or pass you.

  • Maintain a constant speed. Don’t continually slow down or speed up.

  • Make sure your mirrors are adjusted properly. Check your side mirrors every 15 seconds to keep tabs on the traffic behind and to the side of you.

  • Take a defensive driving class. These classes have changed considerably since you took driver’s ed in high school. They improve your ability to drive, provide the refresher that most of us need from time to time, and teach you to be better prepared to properly react to the unpredictable behavior of other drivers.

  • Proceed with great caution through intersections. Most accidents happen at intersections. Just because the light is green, doesn’t mean it is safe to enter the intersection. Look left, look right, and then look left again to make sure it is safe to enter the intersection.

  • Be sufficiently aware of road conditions and be more visible. Keep your lights on at dusk and dawn, and during periods of rain. In Maryland and DC, if your windshield wipers are on, your headlights have to be on as well. Understand basic vehicle dynamics such as knowing how to recover from a skid.

  • SLOW DOWN! Driving at a slower rate of speed will give you additional time to react in case something unexpected occurs. It will also help you save some of that liquid gold that makes the engine run. It will also help ensure the safety of our residents who walk, run and play on Mount Rainier’s narrow, congested streets.

National Night Out 2007

Please come and join us on the grounds of Thomas Stone Elementary School for this year’s National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday, August 7th. Plan to attend this annual celebration with your family and friends. Again this year we will have live entertainment, plenty of food, and lots of fun things to do for the whole family. Please keep an eye on the City’s web site, and on the police chief’s Blog (http://www.mrpdchief.blogspot.com/) for additional details and updates as plans for this exciting night evolve.

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