ASK A COP — How close is too close when stopping behind a vehicle in front of you?
Published 12:56 pm Monday, January 10, 2022
Clyde from Port Arthur asks: As I’m constantly teaching my granddaughter the rules of the road, we came to rest at 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 as you can guess, 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: 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 Clyde that it’s irritating and to some, 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 on the roads of this nation simply 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 as they don’t touch your vehicle and cause damage or injury. Clyde, the advice your Grandpa gave you moons ago about being able to see the rear tire as an appropriate stopping distance. 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.
Danny from Port Neches asks: I have a question about a truck that emits a lot of black smoke every time the accelerator is pressed. I don’t believe this is normal. The amount of smoke seems to be excessive. I was wondering if this is legal to have a vehicle emit so mush black smoke upon the acceleration of the gas pedal?
Answer: Section §547.605 of the Texas Transportation Code prohibits motor vehicles with excessive visible smoke emissions from operating on Texas roadways. In the state of Texas, a motor vehicle can NOT continually emit smoke from its exhaust more than 10 seconds, or emit a burst of smoke into the air that does NOT disappear within 10 seconds. Colored smoke coming from the exhaust pipes usually indicates there is some type of engine problem. I’m aware there are some trucks that are able to emit smoke from exhaust pipes purposely without their being an engine problem. Here’s something you and all readers can do without involving local law enforcement. Contact the Texas Commission for Environment Quality if you see a vehicle with excessive exhaust smoke at 1-800-453-SMOG.
Darryl from Port Arthur asks: Could you please explain what violations police officers do and don’t enforce on private property?
Answer: There is a lot of confusion about what a Texas police officer WILL and WILL NOT investigate on private property. So 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 violations, bad parking violations (taking up multiple lanes), no seat belt violations, no drivers 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.
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