Ask a cop: Be smart, use your blinking blinkers

Published 10:43 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

Keep in mind that Click it or Ticket will be enforced until May 31. The men and women of the Port Arthur Police Department are encouraging ALL motorist and passengers of motor vehicle to BUCKLE UP! Seat belts save lives!

Gerry from Port Arthur asks:  Officer Antoine, I have a quick question about the use of blinkers: It seems as though a lot of people have decided that the use of blinkers on public streets and highways is an option. Many, many times as I drive the route between my home and Lamar State College-Port Arthur where I work, folks will simply stop in the road ahead of me. As I sit at a standstill I’m wondering, are they turning left … right … or if there a dead raccoon in the road? My kids make fun of me for getting so bent out of shape but I think it’s a real safety concern.

Answer:  Good question Gerry! I’m ONE who truly echo your sentiments about the failure to use your signal indicators (blinkers) while operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway. I don’t understand the mindset of motorists who believe it’s permissible for them to drive and change lanes, turn into private driveways, all without signaling their intent to do so. Gerry I can’t begin to tell you how many citations I’ve issued for this violation, and the attitude of the driver upon receiving the citation is one of appalled. They can’t believe they are being stopped much less given a ticket for such a minor violation. Gerry to me and all other responsible motorists, your turn signal is a non verbal way to communicate your INTENT (lane change, turning), while driving a motor vehicle in order that other motorists behind you or approaching may prepare to drive their vehicles accordingly.

It’s amazing we buy these vehicles and PAY for a piece of equipment that is standard in ALL vehicles, but yet we fail to use it! Failing to use your turn signal could be the difference between someone going to the car wash or salvage yard, or Memorial Day picnic or emergency room — and last but not least,  home or to a morgue.

Be a smart and safe driver, use you turn signal indicator (BLINKERS), trust me those of us behind would love to know your intent!

Gerry, try not to get so emotional and show your disapproval in front of your kids while operating a motor vehicle, because this is a behavior they can easily pick up from their HERO, and when they start driving they may display acts of anger while driving or even road rage.

Jeremy from Beaumont asks: Officer Antoine, I car pool weekly with my co-worker and we always have a question about blocking intersections while stopped in line at a traffic signal. Let’s say the traffic at an intersection is backed up past a city length block and the crossstreet has vehicles in front waiting for the light to change. There are also cars stopped at the cross street stop sign. Is it illegal to block the intersection and wait for the traffic light to change or should the traffic a the stop sign wait?

Answer: Good question Jeremy! We all can experience lines of traffic like this during rush hours. There are not laws that tell ANY driver in Texas that they must stop before the cross street to allow passage for any vehicle sitting a stop sign. The vehicle at a cross street will just have to patiently WAIT until it is clear and safe for them to enter the intersection. The vehicle that is on the road, already has the right of way and the other vehicle must gain access when it is safe to do so. If the vehicle at the stop sign is given entry by one motorist that still don’t give them the right of way especially if his movement or position of his vehicle is causing traffic to stop to allow him safe passage. Keep in mind especially when you are in BIG cities like Houston, sometimes you feel like you will wait 15 minutes at a stop sign before its safe to enter

the intersection unless someone lets you in. You always take a risky chance when someone lets you in by slowing down traffic and waving you in. Drive Safe!

Juan from Port Arthur asks: I’ve visited Houston on many occasions and I must say with the multitude of vehicle traffic they have there, it seems like the horn usage is more here in Southeast Texas than in Houston. Is there a law against horn usage abuse or overuse?

Answer: Good question Juan! Yes there is a law against inappropriate horn usage. Now Juan being raised in smaller communities and daily motoring in said place makes you grateful when we take time to visit our neighboring MAJOR metropolitan city to the west. Juan it is your opinion that we use our horn system more than the motorist in Houston do, well I can’t say I agree with that but you are entitled to your opinion. Horns are a very important tool and necessary asset to you vehicle to communicate road safety to other motorist. Now Texas law TRC 547.501 (c)  A motor vehicle operator shall use a horn to provide audible warning only when necessary to insure safe operation.