ASK A COP: Yes, use hazard lights anytime

Published 11:18 pm Monday, January 9, 2017

By Officer Rickey Antoine

Here is an update on Officer Antoine’s nomination to appear on the Dr. Phil Show’s segment “Know a Police Officer Making a Difference.” At this point, I have NOT been contacted by the Dr. Phil staff, but I was told by the original person who nominated me, former Councilman Steven Mosley, that everyone needs to continue to send in their letters of support. There is no DEADLINE at this point. If you have not sent your letter and wish to participate by showing support of Officer Antoine, who will in turn shine a positive light on Southeast Texas and all of its great Police Officers, send your letters to the Dr. Phil Show “Know a Police Officer Making a Difference,” 5482 Wilshire Boulevard #1902, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Lynne from Port Arthur Asks: Officer Antoine, in your column published on 1-3-17, you advise to use hazard lights if driving below the speed limit in bad weather. I had just navigated through a heavy rainstorm on my way to Houston on I-10 the previous day, and was extremely frustrated that every car in every lane, regardless of speed, had on their flashing lights (I was not). I couldn’t tell who was stopped or stopping, and who was just using flashers because it was raining. My recollection of driver’s training in another state (perhaps faulty) was that hazard lights were only to be used when stopped. The Texas Driver Handbook just says they are used to “warn others the vehicle is a hazard.” Please clarify if I should be more patient with all the drivers using flashers in the rain, but I still think it makes it more difficult to tell who is actually stopped if visibility is poor. Thanks for all you do for us!

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Answer: Good question, Lynne! In the weather condition you described, Lynne, you and ALL other motorists should practice patience. During inclement weather, you will either practice patience or be forced to take patience. Meaning if the highway is crowded, you will just have to wait your time whether you agree with the other motorist’s current driving behavior or not! There is no law that says you can or cannot activate your hazard lamps while pulled over on the side of the road. Keep in mind it’s important to warn someone approaching from the rear and front to pay attention to my vehicle. You are more than welcome to activate your hazard lamps if you are moving or parked.

Sidney from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I would like to know how you are supposed to get to most of the businesses on 39th Street in Groves. There is a double yellow line almost all of the way in Groves. Most people have to cross the double yellow line to get in their driveway. Also on FM 365 they have the same situation.

Answer: Good question, Sidney! Well, Sidney, we would have quite a mess on our hands if you were NOT allowed to turn across double yellow lines in Texas. Sidney, the act of turning across double yellow lines in Texas is NOT ILLEGAL! In Texas, the double yellow line means NO PASSING! No matter if you can plainly see no other vehicle is coming your way from a long distance. So, Sidney, all of the vehicles you are finding crossing the double yellow line are obeying the law! Keep in mind you CANNOT turn across a DOUBLE WHITE LINE in Texas.

Alice from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, I really dislike the cold frigid temperatures, I understand we are entering the winter season where fog and mist form overnight. I don’t have a garage to keep my vehicle windows clear, but I do love getting into a car that’s WARM. Since we shouldn’t drive if we can’t see, can I start my vehicle and stay inside my home until the inside interior of my vehicle thaws out? I love entering a vehicle that’s nice and toasty inside.

Answer: Good question, Alice! It’s that time of year again Alice, my least favorite — WINTER! I know many of us can remember when we were younger, our mom and dad going outside to warm up the car. Well, those days are long gone. The only thing I will enjoy about this winter season is when I am able to see my Pittsburgh Steelers play and win Super Bowl 51 in Houston in February (Smile), but I’m so serious! Alice, I don’t like getting into a vehicle, and it feels like you are still outside in the cold, but we are law abiding citizens, and in Texas, there is a law about leaving our vehicle unattended, even if your only intent is to warm it up before you leave. Guess who else loves for motorists to warm up their cars before entering them — CAR THIEVES! This time of year is a favorite for thieves because the guessing game is gone as to whether your vehicle is on. They can clearly see the white exhaust smoke puffing out of the tail pipe. Another point is you only need to allow the motor oil to circulate throughout the engine, which will take the maximum of approximately 25 seconds. Afterward, there is no real benefit of your vehicle being idle. Your vehicle will heat up faster moving than idling. The state of Texas allows vehicle operators who have remote start to leave their car running and unattended, as long as they have the key in their possession while away from the vehicle.

Join Me, Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for at least 1 hour from 1 p.m. until we are done. You can also tune in via Internet Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at (409) 982-0247. Remember to email your questions to , or call 409-984-8541 and leave a voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 Fourth St., Port Arthur, Texas 77640. If you see me in public,  “Ask A Cop”!