Trooper Chuck Allen is a 15-year veteran of the Nevada Highway Patrol. He is currently the public relations coordinator for Northern Command. The following is a series of traffic questions for which many motorists might not know the answers:
What can you do to report an accident or a possible drunk driver or if you see an aggressive driver?
You can dial (asterisk) *NHP from your cellular phone and speak directly to a dispatcher at the Department of Public Safety Communications Center. We arrest a large number of suspected drunken drivers with the assistance of motorists phoning in these reports. Don't ever hesitate to let us know if you see an emergency.
What should you do if you're involved in a simple fender bender?
If your vehicle is able to be driven, move it to the right shoulder, turn your emergency flashers on, and call for assistance. Don't ever exit your vehicle and assess the damage while in the travel lane. Quite often during conditions when the roads are slick, drivers will encounter a spinout and strike a section of guardrail. Keep in mind that if your vehicle lost traction, other vehicles may also encounter the same problem and you wouldn't want to risk being struck while assessing the damage to your car.
What is the proper procedure for yielding to an emergency vehicle?
The law clearly states to pull your vehicle to the right and stop. If you are in heavy traffic on a multiple lane highway and an emergency vehicle is behind you with lights and siren on, yield to the right as quickly as possible and utilize your turn signal. This signaling also lets the responder know that you recognize the emergency vehicle and that you are attempting to yield.
What do you do if the car behind you is tailgating and forcing you to speed up?
This question comes up quite a bit and is somewhat debatable. If the speed limit is 65 mph and you are in the fast lane driving 65 mph, are you doing anything wrong? No. However, if traffic is heavy and you remain in the fast lane traveling the maximum speed limit, the line of traffic behind you may only be able to maintain 60 mph. With that in mind you would be impeding traffic. A good rule to follow is to only utilize the fast lane to pass in, and then move to the right. If someone wants to pass you when you are driving the maximum speed limit, let them, as they will eventually receive a speeding citation. This practice would probably eliminate a good portion of our road-rage calls.
What's the proper use of the acceleration lane?
An acceleration lane is a designated lane to allow traffic entering a highway to build up speed before merging into the flow of traffic. One should never use this lane as a passing lane. Another simple rule to follow regarding painted lines is never cross a solid white line. A common traffic violation is called "crossing the gore area." This is the area at the on and off ramps where the two painted lines come to a point and form a triangle. Motorists have a reasonable expectation that traffic entering the highway won't cross the painted lines, and drivers exiting the freeway also expect traffic not to cross this area as well.
Where can motorists get road condition information?
The easiest way to obtain current roadway conditions is to log onto www.nevadadot.com. or call (877) 687-6237. For California, call 1 (800) 427-7623.