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Seatbelts, Signals and Intersections

Sgt. Mark Thompson discusses three ways to stay safe while driving.

I have discovered, if your wife accidentally locks herself out of the house, and you are at work and your cellular telephone battery is dead, it will not only prove the house is very difficult to break into, but when you arrive at home, you will soon embark on a trip to an exotic restaurant.  

A recent traffic crash involving the Executive for Oakland County and a retired Michigan State Trooper has been making quite the media splash. Most likely we could discuss numerous dynamics leading up to the crash and the actual crash, but I would like to talk about three.

First, seatbelts really, really do work and have been proven to reduce injuries and fatalities. But they only work if you wear them. 

If you travel a thousand miles or a quarter mile, put your seatbelt on, not just because it’s the law, but because you will never know when you are going to need the protection a seatbelt offers. The saying, “Better safe than sorry,” is appropriate.

Two, would be traffic control signals.   

Make sure you pay attention to the traffic lights.  I know that was stating the obvious but those traffic signals are pretty important devices when it comes to preventing crashes and the safe movement of traffic.  Don’t try to “beat the light.”  If you have to stop because the traffic light turns yellow then red, most often it will only be for a minute or two before you are on your way again. Risking a crash or stopping and waiting a minute or two before you continue your travels, should be a no brainer.

Three, regards intersections.

This suggestion is for drivers, passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians.  Before you enter an intersection make sure you visually scan the intersection and make sure those vehicles and pedestrians who are supposed to be stopping are actually stopping.  After you stop and the traffic signal changes and it is now your turn to move, take a second or two and scan the intersection again to make sure those who are supposed to stop have and to make sure you don’t have some odd ball trying to “beat the light.”  When in doubt, stay put and if you can, make eye contact with the person operating the vehicle that is causing you concern and make sure they see you and your intended action.

I received and email from Willem, who lives in South Africa. 

Willem asked if driving under the influence of narcotics would be illegal in South Africa as it is in Michigan. This is the first international email the Ask a Trooper column has received and while I would gladly volunteer to travel to South Africa and research this question for a correct answer, I don’t think it’s in the budget. I did obtain the contact information for the South African Police Service, and suggested Willem to contact them for an answer to his question.

A lot of the people who keep a gun at home for safety are the same ones who refuse to wear a seat belt” ~ George Carlin

If you have a question, please send it to askatrooper12@gmail.com or mail it to the Michigan State Police – Brighton Post, 4803 S. Old US-23, Brighton, MI   48114.

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