JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The average commute in Mississippi is just over 24 minutes. That means many of us spend almost an hour a day in our car. Getting there safely is priority one, and there is driver’s manual full of rules to help you along the way. Most of us have forgotten, at least, a few of those.
If you are a Mississippian over the age of 16, odds are, you know how to drive. So why do most us of break the law almost every time we get behind the wheel? Here is a look at some of the most disregarded driving laws and why they are on the books in the first place.
In addition to being the baseball coach and Athletic Director at McClaurin High, Jeff Walker, has taught Driver’s Ed. for the last 30 years. The biggest change he’s seen in a lifetime on the road?
Walker said, “Cell phones cause more accidents than anything. They feel like they have to on the cell phone 24-7, even when they are behind the wheel, and it’s not good.”
If you take a ride with Coach Walker, your cell phone goes right in the trunk. That way you can focus on what’s really important, like what to do when a policeman has a car pulled over.
“Well, the law in Mississippi is that you have to move over and give them the right lane if possible,” explained Walker.
It’s a rule that could save the life of someone like Sgt. Kervin Stewart of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Sgt. Stewart stated, “What that is, is that for any emergency vehicle that is on the shoulder or to the right, you are to move to the left lane if possible to do so. If it’s not safe to do so, you need to slow down to a speed which you could stop if you had to.”
But what if the emergency vehicle is behind you, sirens screaming, headed to a scene?
“As stated by law, you should slow down and move to the right so the emergency vehicle can pass. We’ve had incidents,” explained Stewart.
In fact, staying to right is a good rule of thumb whenever you’re out on the interstate. In a perfect world, the left lane would only be used for passing. Obeying posted speed limits is also a good way to keep from getting a ticket, but do those limits change in severe weather?
“The speed limit changes for commercial motor vehicles, and that is that are to proceed at 10 miles under the posted speed limit,” said Stewart.
But that is only for commercial vehicles. The rest of us must rely on common sense. If that scares you, remember Mississippi’s seat belt law. Everybody in the front seat and back seat must be buckled up.
Walker explained, “During an accident and a rollover or something, your body becomes a projectile absolutely and can do more damage to those who are buckled up.”
That should give you a greater appreciation for the click it or ticket campaign.
Children under four must ride in a car seat, and kids up to eight-years-old need to be in a booster. Most new cars come with anchors in place to help make installation a little easier, but if you’re still having trouble, your local police of fire station will have someone who’s happy to help.