The Jefferson County Sheriffs Foundation, would like to remind you how important it is to always drive responsibly and use good common sense judgment while operating a motor vehicle.

Please use this information to remind yourself on the rules of the road and how to safely operate a motor vehicle and help ensure a lifetime of safe driving for you, your family, friends and neighbors.

Everyone can do their part to help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by auto collisions by always wearing your seatbelt, never driving while intoxicated with alcohol and drugs, and avoiding distractions like texting and other cell phone usages while operating a motor vehicle.

DRIVING RISKS

Your safety while operating a motor vehicle can depend on what you do before you put the car in drive.  Always adjust the seat, mirrors, secure any lose items that maybe lying on the dash or seat and put on the seatbelt.

There are three components to risk while driving: the driver, the vehicle, and the roadway environment.  Driving safely can reduce any risk that may be present. The more risk factors that are present, the more likely it will be that you may be involved in a collision. Keeping your vehicle in good operating order, using the seatbelt and not driving while intoxicated or distracted will help you in reducing risks.

SAFE DRIVING TIPS

Distracted Driving: This is very important to any driver or passenger in a vehicle. Distracted driving is any activity that takes a person’s attention away from the primary task of operating a motor vehicle. Any distraction can endanger the driver, their passengers, pedestrians and other vehicles sharing the roadway. Hear are some types of distractions while operating a motor vehicle to avoid.

  • Texting
  • Using a cell or smart phone
  • Eating, drinking or taking medication
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming yourself or animals
  • Reading books, news papers, mail, maps, directions, and work material
  • Watching a video or playing games
  • Adjusting vehicle controls
  • Holding small animals on your lap

Texting or talking on a cell phone is especially dangerous and could get you an expensive ticket. It is against the law to use an electronic wireless device to read, send, or write a text message. It is also against the law to hold a wireless communications device to your ear or hold in your hand.  A “Hands free” device is an acceptable alternative and is defined as a wireless communications device with a speakerphone, headset or earpiece,

Drinking and Driving: Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a major causing reason in traffic collisions in which many driver, passengers, pedestrians and other innocent people are seriously injured or killed. If you drink or take prescription medications or drugs, your chances of being in a serious collision are much greater. No one can drink alcohol, take prescription medication or use drugs and drive safely, regardless of how much experience they have driving a motor vehicle.

Marijuana: Marijuana has been shown to impair performance on driving tasks and on driving courses for up to 5 hours. It has been reported that using marijuana can decrease car handling performance, cause slower reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, cause an inability to maintain headway, subjective sleepiness, affect motor coordination, and impair the ability to clearly focus on what is going on around you.

Other Drugs: Like alcohol and marijuana, many other drugs can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. These other types if drugs can effects like those of alcohol or even use..

Always check with your health provider before operating a motor vehicle when using prescribed medications.

Always use a designated driver to ensure that you, your family and friends get home safely.

Insurance: If you operate a vehicle that is registered in Washington, you must have liability insurance and must carry proof of the insurance with you.

Check the vehicle: It is the duty of drivers to make sure that the vehicle they are driving is safe to operate. A vehicle that is not in good working order creates risk, could be unsafe, could break down or cause a collision. A vehicle in good working order can give you an extra safety margin if you should need it.

Braking system: It is very dangerous to operate a motor vehicle if the brakes are worn or not working properly.

Lights: Rarely does anyone check the lights on their vehicles. Every driver and vehicle owner should practice checking the turn signals, brake lights, tail lights and headlights on a regular basis to ensure they are working properly. Visibility to see what is ahead and being seen by other drivers is very important.

Windshield: A damaged or cracked windshield can easily break in any type of collision or when is struck from inside or outside object.

Windshield Wipers: Windshield wipers keep the rain, snow and dust, off of the windshield to ensure clear visibility. Make sure your vehicle wipers are checked regularly.

Windshield fog or frozen: Please make sure your windshield is completely defrosted before you leave your driveway.

Tires: Worn or bald tires can increase a vehicle’s stopping distance and make turning more difficult when the road is wet or icy. Worn tires can cause hydroplaning and increase your chance of getting a flat tire.

Steering  system: If the vehicles steering is not working properly, it could be difficult to control the vehicle in the direction you want to go or in attempting to avoid objects in the roadway.

Engine: A poor running engine could lose power while you are in the middle of the freeway or any other type of roadway. A properly maintained engine is needed for normal driving to ensure you arrive safely at your destination. A poorly maintained engine may unexpectedly lose power and causing a traffic jam, may not re-start and cause poor fuel economy.

Horn: The horn is an important item for any vehicle, but should only be used as a warning device to others. Excessive use of the horn could get you a ticket.

Loose objects: Unsecured objects, such as groceries, luggage and animals can become dangerous to a driver, or even cause a collision. Take the time to ensure all objects lying on the seats or floorboard are secured so they dot not interfere with your hand and foot operations of the vehicle or cause you to be distracted.

Please do your part to keep our roadways safe and protect yourself, your family, friends and neighbors. Do your part: Slow down, Always drive sober and please do not text and drive.


Article on Washington Driver Safety Information written by the infamous Ken Przygocki

The following pages of Traffic Safety Information are based on the life and experiences of one of the worlds finest Traffic Officers. Ken Przygocki started out as a child! He grew up and was first exposed to Law Enforcement with the Detroit Police Department. Later in his career he transferred his knowledge and skills in Accident Investigation to the Washington State Patrol. Now that he is finally retired he has very generously offered his services and knowledge/experience to teaching the residents of our community the finer points of traffic safety. Listen my children and you shall hear of the graveyard shift of Ken Przygocki (pronounced just like it sounds).