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ASK A COP: Blinker on for miles is annoying — not illegal

Pauline from Winnie asks: Officer Antoine, I work in Port Arthur and my office uses this article for a safety meeting every Tuesday. We just love and can’t wait for the discussion of the “Ask A Cop” with Officer Antoine to start of Tuesday mornings. Someone brought up the use of turn signals. We understand someone must signal at least 100 feet before they turn. But what about the vehicle that’s traveling on the road with their signal on for 10 blocks and haven’t made a turn. Is it illegal to drive with your signal on and not turn, and how long can one drive with their signal on before they must turn?

Answer: Good question, Pauline! It’s wonderful news to hear every time someone either in writing, mail, or in person tells me they are a regular reader of “Ask A Cop” or a listener of  “Ask A Cop Live,” and how it has affected their driving behavior. My passion is to have a more informed and connected community, which I believe in turn, will prove to be a safer community. Pauline, you are correct! The state of Texas states a driver must activate their signal indicator at least 100 feet before they make a turn. The state of Texas DOESN’T have anything to say about how long a driver can operate a motor vehicle with its signal on before making a lane change or turn. So Pauline, you can drive with your signal on and not make a lane change or turn and still obey the law, even if you have driven 1 continuous mile with your signal on and never turn or change lanes. I know and agree that sounds sort of strange, but that’s our state law.

T.J. from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I commute to Port Arthur daily on Highways 73 and 69. I agree with you that motorists should reduce their speed during inclement weather like ice, snow, rain and fog. Due to driver’s failure to adhere to this driving procedure, I have seen more than my fair share of wrecks going to and coming from work. Can you advise what we should do if we are involved in a five-car wreck? Do we get out and check on others?

Answers- Good question, T.J! Well, your friend does have a point when he suggests checking on the welfare of the other motorists involved in the five-car crash. But T.J., we suffer a great risk when we exit our vehicles during inclement or clear weather. I know it is instinctive for many to exit their vehicle to review the damage if they are not injured. But I suggest all persons are safer inside their vehicle than standing or walking on the highways with three- and four-ton vehicles moving at various speeds. If another vehicle should happen to join the crash, you would be much more protected inside your vehicle than taking on that vehicle standing on the highway. Today we all have cell phones. Just be patient in your vehicle and call 911 to report the crash. If you exit to check on the welfare of others, as soon as is practical, return to your vehicle or get into another vehicle if you are administering aid.

Jay from Groves asks: Officer Antoine, sometimes I travel up to 15 hours on the road and, of course, sometimes I get tired. My question is can I sleep in my vehicle if I get into the back seat, or do I have to take my keys out of the ignition? Thanks for all you do to keep us safe on the roads.

Answer: Good question, Jay! The state of Texas does encourage sleeping in vehicles at their many designated rest stops along its highways. Because of the very reason you mention Jay, drivers get tired behind the wheel. There is not a state law in Texas that prohibits sleeping in vehicles on the road, but we must research if your city has an ordinance against sleeping in vehicles.

Jay, I’m in line with you; there’s never a good reason to drive while tired. There are many safety concerns one must have when selecting an area to rest, i.e., finding a well-lit area, dense pedestrian traffic and preferably off the road. If you must pull over and sleep in your car, do so safely and in accordance with local laws and you should have no trouble getting forty winks. The city of Port Arthur does not have an ordinance against sleeping in vehicle on the roads, but the city of Port Arthur does have an ordinance against sleeping in parks, which would include vehicles.

Join Me, Officer Antoine for “Ask A Cop Live,” on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday for at least one hour from 1 p.m. until we are done. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released “Ask A Cop” article in The News. You can also tune in via the Internet at www.ksapthebreeze.org. Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at (409) 982-0247. Remember to email your questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com , call 409-984-8541 and leave a voice mail question, or mail them to: Officer Rickey Antoine, 645 4th St., Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always feel free and comfortable to approach and “Ask A Cop!”