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ASK A COP: How close is ‘too close’ when stopping behind another vehicle?

Gary from Port Arthur asks: I have a question regarding the stopping distance behind a vehicle that is at a red traffic signal. As I’m constantly teaching my granddaughter the rules of the road, we came to rest a red light and she stopped almost six feet from the vehicle in front of her. Of course I told her that was too close and she disagreed with me. I told her when I was learning how to drive many moons ago my grandpa would tell me to stop back enough so I could see the rear tires on the vehicle in front of me. Is stopping to see the wheels on the vehicle in front of me the law? If not, what is the law regarding stopping at a traffic signal?

Answer: This is one of those questions where there will be a multitude of different answers. But the ONLY correct answer is there is NO LAW regarding the distance a vehicle has to be to another vehicle while both vehicles are not in motion. I understand Gary that it’s irritating and even frustrating to look in your rear view mirror and observe the vehicle only a couple of feet and in some cases several inches from your rear bumper.

There have been reports of motorists actually exiting their vehicles and engaging in physical confrontations because, in their opinion, someone stopped too closely to their vehicle. No matter how much you don’t like it, it’s NOT illegal for them to be stopped closely to your vehicle as long they don’t touch your vehicle and cause damage or injury. I don’t understand the need to stop closely to another vehicle at a traffic controlled signal/sign. It just makes good safe driving sense to stop a car length from the car in front of you. You never know what’s going to happen on the roadway and you just may need that extra space.

Laura for Port Arthur asks: My neighbor and I are at a standstill about driving barefoot, is it illegal or not?

Answer: Tell your neighbor “IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO DRIVE A MOTOR VEHICLE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS BAREFOOT! There are some safety concerns in removing your shoe to drive, like the shoe can slide under the brake pedal, making stopping the vehicle a much harder task. In that case, barefoot drivers can better gauge the braking and acceleration of a motor vehicle then someone with thick soles, or slick soles that can easily slip off the brake or gas pedal. Not only is driving barefoot legal, but it also has its advantages when driving.

Caller from the Breeze Radio: Could you please explain what violations police officers do and don’t enforce on private property?

Answer: Here is a list of what a police officer will enforce on private property: fire zone violation, disable parking violation, reckless driving violation and driving while intoxicated violation. Police officers in Texas will not investigate on private property; stop sign violation, bad parking violations (taking up multiple lanes), no seat belt violations, no driver’s license violation, expired registration sticker violation, failing to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk violation, minor fender bender crash where no one is injured.

You are welcome to call a police officer to the scene if you are involved in a crash, but the most they will do for you if no one is injured is assist in exchanging information. Even The Breeze owner Stephen b.k.a Buzzard Boots wanted to know if it’s illegal to park at the end of the parking lot and cover multiple lanes while waiting for someone who is inside to finish shopping.

 Join Me, Rickey Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. as we discuss the newly released “Ask A Cop” article. You can also tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Remember to email questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com , call 409-984-8541 or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always free and comfortable to approach and “Ask A Cop.”