Driving Laws in Texas Part II –

cop carAs you can recall from the first part of this article, we have chosen to focus on what the traffic laws in Texas are and what purpose they serve and how to avoid them if at all possible.  Here we continue with our suggestions and advice if you so wish to take it, it might make your life in Houston a little easier.

7.Seat Belt Or Child Restraint Violations (Code 545.412 and 545.413)

This is a relatively new concept, seat belts became popular in the late 50’s and now a days if you do not click your seat belt into the base then your car will chime and chime until you click it in place.  You may think to yourself what an annoying thing to have to constantly deal with and maybe you are right when it comes to the chiming but the concept of seat belts is only one. Your safety.  Seat belts were created to minimize the damage to your body in the event of an accident.  You cannot get 150 stitches in your head if your head never crashed through the windshield.

8.Vehicle Modifications (Code 547)

Some traffic laws are created not by you, but by a committee that gather to analyze the risks and benefits of certain after market modifications and although you may not be in agreement with what they say, you still need to know what these are and how to avoid them.  Window tinting is something that is regulated for example, if your front windshield is too dark then officers and traffic cams cannot see you then there is no way to hold you accountable for something that you do.

9.Speeding (Code 545.351 and 545.352)

Speed limits were created with one goal in mind.  To find the safest speed that most people could probably drive without many incidents. Why do you get a ticket when you are over the speed limit? Because you are putting yourself but more importantly other people who might be in your path in dangers way.  This is why there is such a huge issue with speeding. Did you know the human body is only meant to survive without minimal damage an accident at only 8 MPH for the sake of your internal organs.  Now imagine on a freeway, where the speed limit is 55 MPH yet you are going 110 MPH.  It is much harder to control the car if an issue arises – a blown tire, etc.

10.Driving Without Insurance (Code 601)

The concept of insurance is an interesting one. You pay money each and every month in the off chance that something might happen to you in the future.  So you pay into it, well, when it comes to automotive insurance, you get insured to cover any reparation bills or medical bills that might arise.  Some car insurances also do multi car insurance which is a great and economical way to go to live within the letter or the law.

11.Mechanical Violations (547)

If there are limits placed on the amount of water that can pass through a shower head to limit how much water is used, minimize the wastefulness, then imagine what the limitations on engines there might be. There are NOS (Nitrous Oxide) tanks that a lot of drag racers use, also deactivating chips in some car engines can increase their HP by a substantial amount. Food for thought.

12.Leaving The Scene Of An Accident (Code 550)

As a human being one of the most difficult things to do is leave someone in harm’s way or someone that has been hurt. Leaving the scene of an accident, especially if it is your fault, then it is considered a hit and run and is punishable by law.  Because not only did you inflict damage on someone else, but once you did you left them there, depending on the severity, it could be considered negligent homicide, but then again, it depends on a case by case basis.

We hope that these articles have been informative and have given you something to consider when driving along the streets of our beautiful Houston.

 

Driving Laws in Texas

traffic-copsEach and everyone of us knows, regardless of what city or state we may be living in there will be rules and regulations, laws that were meant to be enforced.  Here in Houston, it is no different so we would like to take a moment to discuss what traffic violations you can get cited for.  Some of them may be obvious while others may not be.

Here are the top 12 Traffic Laws in our great state of Texas, in no specific order.

1.Illegal U-Turn (Code 545)

The reason this is dangerous is that there are designated roads that are deemed safe enough to have a left arrow and a u-turn ability.  The issue is when the road is not designed this way, oncoming traffic may not expect you to be there and may cause an accident. Therefore it is important to take the extra block, turn, turn, turn again until you get to where you want to go safely. Here in Houston, we always emphasize highway safety.

2.Reckless Driving (code 545.401)

Did you know that reckless driving consists of being distracted, correct?Not focusing 100% on the task at hand.  It no longer only refers to speeding and drag racing or driving under the influence.  The definition of reckless driving has changed in the last 20 years and especially now with the advances in technology people are more addicted than ever. Driving while texting, or even those few seconds between you looking down, scrolling to find a number and pressing send…can be the difference between life and death for you and those in your surrounding. Drive with prudence as though what you are driving could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

3.Running A Red Light (Code 544)

The danger of this is that well, since we learn how to drive and even way way before we are taught that green means go. When we are going through an intersection and the light is green we believe that we indeed have the right of way. This is most often the case, but when a red light is ran, the impact is terrible and very tragic accidents can occur. When the light turns yellow you are supposed to stop, contrary to popular belief, yellow does not mean speedup.

4.Drinking & Driving Violations (Code 49.04)

Alcohol or substance abuse impair your ability to function like you normally would.  This depending on what was ingested can have several different side effect consisting of but not limited to: Dizziness, blacking out, aggressiveness, paranoia, hyperactivity, slow movements, uncoordinated movements, affects your reaction time, your reflexes are slower. This is a violation you never want to be charged with, for you are not only putting your life but everyone Else’s in jeopardy when anyone drives like this. A good way to avoid this is to stay stationary or at home on big holidays.  Drive to and fro when the least amount of people who could be impaired are off the streets.

5.Driving with A Suspended License (Code 521)

License get suspended for a variety of reasons, not paying child support, traffic infractions to name a few. However, once your license is suspended if you drive without one and get pulled over you can get into some big big trouble. If your license was suspended, wait it out, take the bus, take a cab, hire a friend to drive you places, be creative.  Do not get behind the wheel because it will only make matters much much worse.

6.Driving without Registration (Code 502)

What is a the point of the registration? Well, it lets authorities know that the car is lawfully yours.  Which is why when you are pulled over, you are asked for the license and registration.  If your name’s not on the registration you better be able to explain that you are the niece of the car owner or that somehow you have legal access to the car.  If no registration is found at all, the car will most likely be taken to impound until an investigation can take place.

We hope you have found the first six traffic violations helpful. The following six will be in the second part of this article.

Is It Possible To Use A Cell Phone Safely While Driving?

Man driving in his car using cell mobile phone, dangerous situation

Man driving in his car using cell mobile phone, dangerous situation

No matter where you go, it seems that people are stuck to their phone. Now, let’s do a mental exercise for just a small moment. Imagine that you have no phone. Imagine that the only access to a phone that you have at your disposal is the local pay phone ( which hardly exist anymore) or your land line at home. Ok, so envision this. Most of us cannot, which is the simple and sad truth. Most of us feel naked when we forget our phones at home or when our batteries slowly draining. There is an uneasy feeling at the pit of your stomach, your phone is about to die. Your lifeline. How else will you have access to the world? Get the information you so desperately and instantly crave? Well, this article is written for you Houstonian.

The issue with this undeniable cell phone obsessed society is that we get to used to have unfettered access to information that we continue this trend sometimes at work and sometimes when we drive. The statistics speak for themselves, it is something like 90% of adults in North America have access to a cell phone. This however can become a problem when people decide to use their phones while driving. If you are a passenger then I believe there is no real danger, but as a driver you cannot be focusing on the task at hand if you are distracted. Most people if asked would agree that they are excellent multi-taskers and if you fall within this category maybe you think that you have never had an accident while on your phone and that it is something that is second nature. The danger however, lies within those few seconds that you are distracted doing something other than driving and watching your surroundings. How many surgeons are texting during an operation, how many race car drivers text while doing a few laps? The answer to both is none. Driving is a privilege and you must drive with caution because other peoples lives are in your hand. The people within your car, including yourself and those innocent bystanders that just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This unknown factor is determined by a set of laws that help everyone be on the same page, insures that everyone is being as safe as possible. Many states view cell phone usage behind the wheel as a form of impaired driving because honestly it is. You are distracted – it’s as easy as that. There are states that have pioneered this movement. The Garden State (New Jersey), Connecticut (Which is sometimes referred to as the Tri-State Area) and California (the most densely populated state) have all opted to prohibit the use of cell phones while driving . Only in the case of an emergency – there are a little less than 20 states that have prohibited the use of cell phones to new and inexperienced drivers and this also applies to bus drivers. Here in Texas we believe that safety is the best policy. The statistics don’t lie, a 20% of all car accidents reported involve distracted drivers. We do not have a statewide ban on cell use while driving, there are rules that need to be followed to be considered within the law.

Now, if you believe that these laws should not apply to you, even though they do, there are some suggestions as to how to use your cell phone safely. The key is to limit distractions and you will notice if you have purchased a car in the last five years that this has been taken into consideration when the cars are being designed and manufactured. The term is Bluetooth. Your car may have blue tooth capabilities which allow you to take and make calls from your cars dashboard. This consists of a microphone that you can talk into. If you car is a little older then your cell phone probably has an auxiliary port in which you could place a hands free earpiece that consists of a small microphone and earpiece. This is known as hands free or you can use a wireless solution which can be accessed by touching a button on the earpiece itself.

With the Bluetooth system you can hear who you are speaking to throughout the car through the speaker system. A lot of these have voice recognition capabilities which can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes can be incredibly frustrating. Now, what is recommended is that you use your phone as little as possible when driving. Cell phones were made for a purpose to make a call when out of your house. Well, most of us do not spend countless hours in a car, most of us use our cars to get us from point A to point B. Whatever you need to say can most likely wait until you make it to your destination. This is the safest way to ensure that your focus is where it should be, on your surrounding, your speed limit, the traffic lights, traffic cops, other drivers, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, heavy vehicles such as semis, etc. etc. etc.

What almost everyone can agree on is that texting and driving is not only very difficult, but very unnecessary. In order to text you need to move your focus away from the street and not crashing into someone and refocus your eyes on a teeny tiny screen and try to get the spelling correct. Even abbreviations LOL, OMW, TY, you name it take focus away from the task at hand and nationally causes around 430,000 injuries or deaths due to distracted driving.

How to combat sleepiness when driving

              sleepy tired woman driver

What do you do when you HAVE to drive somewhere and you are sleepy or are not the correct condition to drive? Well, this is a question that is posed quite often, loved ones ask one another…”Do you have to leave so late?” Most of us reading a car blog like this can agree that we enjoy cars, we like to learn about them and we appreciate useful information regarding how to be better at driving them. If you like to drive and especially at night because traffic may be less intense and you can really let the throttle lose and just go – then you may have experienced a very common phenomenon.

Sleepiness while driving. Driving a car requires a combination of coordinated efforts. Lets see: Hands on the wheel control what direction you go in, your right foot in an automatic and left and right in a manual car have to operate simultaneously. So at this point we have the coordinated efforts of two actions, now we need to be aware of our speed as to not put ourselves or others in harms way. Then we have our surroundings, the unknown to try to factor in and these increment exponentially if it is nighttime and visibility is less.

Therefore imaging trying to coordinate all of this, seamlessly all the while your eyelids are heavy, you keep yawning incessantly and you do the tricks that you know in order to stay up. 1) open the windows, putting your windows down can help you wake up especially if it is a little cold out. The cold air that whips your face and arms can have a very sobering effect on your sleep. 2) Rock out, turn the radio up as high as you can. It would be better to get accused of noise pollution verses crashing because you are tired. Once you are rocking out to a good song, why not sing along and really get into it.

It is hard to be sleepy when you are listening to a song that you really enjoy. If your yawns are getting more progressive, then pull over. If you are driving on the highway, find the next rest stop, gas station or restaurant and go to the parking lot to rest. If you are resigned to driving and cannot do anything to avoid it and need to get from point A to point B now…then drink or eat something sugary or an energy drink. These tend to process fairly quickly into the body and when you get that ever familiar sugar high then you should be able to squeeze some more miles out of your journey until you can stop somewhere safe.

These suggestions are helpful if you are alone, but it is even better if there is someone in the car with you, because they may not be tired and can get you to your desired destination. You can discuss anything under the stars or merely go to sleep now that the driving is left to someone else. If you have ever taken a road trip with kids then you will know that there are boundless games that are easy and fun to play while driving down the road. Off the top of my head is “I spy”, you see something and then use a word to describe it, it is red, small and in the car. This gets the passenger thinking and you can get some good miles underway playing this innocent and super engaging game.

Stretching can be a great way to combat sleepiness. Stop, get out and stretch. It is important to remember that being tired behind the wheel is no different than being under the influence, you do not have 100% of your faculties and it is risky and dangerous. What we recommend is that you realize that no matter how much you may want to get to your destination, it makes more sense to get there later or earlier and not risk not only your life but everyone’s around you as well. Food for thought.