Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

August 16, 2013

Ask the Sheriff: Sheriff gives some common dangers while driving

What are the most dangerous things that drivers/passengers do to put themselves or others in danger, whether legal or not? The answers may surprise you. It is not always as obvious as texting while driving. Let’s explore some of these dangers so you may prevent a potential disaster while driving.

Airbags in vehicles can be helpful in reducing injuries in crashes. I have often seen front seat passengers place their feet on or atop the dashboard while traveling down the road. There is nothing illegal about this act, but that does not mean it’s safe.

With many vehicles having supplementary restraint systems, including airbags, the act of placing your feet on or near the dashboard can be hazardous to your health in a crash. Airbags are deployed at approximately 200 mph, too fast for you to react. There are documented cases where airbags have caused serious leg and hip/pelvic fractures due to the force that is exerted by the airbag in a crash, when the legs/feet of the passenger are near the dash area.

On a similar topic, if the driver of a vehicle with an airbag is sitting closer than 10 inches (measured from sternum to middle of the steering wheel), then the driver could be injured from the airbag. Adjust your seat to provide at least 10 inches space.

Remember, seat belts are always to be used in vehicles with airbags. Never place a rear-facing child restraint seat in front of an airbag. In all of these cases, a little knowledge and a reminder are helpful about the unseen safety features that could become an unintentional hazard.

Many officers have seen the hazard of passing at an intersection. Passing a vehicle on the left at an intersection is illegal. Some roads are not marked with a no-passing zone or are marked that it looks OK to pass. Regardless of the road markings or lack of markings, there is no passing on the left at intersections.

Similarly, I’ve seen same-direction vehicles passing on the right of left turning vehicles at intersections. Although this is generally permissible by law, there are some restrictions. You cannot pass on the right by driving off the paved portion of the roadway, intersection or not.

This is the most common violation on passing on the right. You must also pass on the right safely. In one crash, a vehicle passed another vehicle on the right, and the passing vehicle collided with a left turning vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.

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