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People are forty times more likely to die in a train collisions than with any other vehicle. That's why it's so important to exercise caution around trains. How much distance is needed for a loaded freight train going 55 miles per hour to stop? Is it a half-mile or more than a mile?
The answer is more than a mile or nearly the length of eighteen football fields. DPS Trooper Sparky Deans says, "A train extends three feet beyond the tracks on both sides, so at a crossing, never stop too close to an oncoming train. When approaching a railroad crossing, always reduce your speed and look both ways before proceeding." Never stop on a railroad track.
Each year hundreds of crashes result from not signaling or giving the wrong signal. Using turn signals is not only courteous, it's the law. You could be fined for not using them. That brings us to the next question. How far in advance of making a turn should you start to signal? Is it 50 feet, 75 feet or 100 feet?
The answer is at least 100 feet. That's about four to five car lengths. DPS Trooper Robyn Wilson says, "Always use your blinkers well before you turn or change lanes to give other drivers enough warning to react and keep your signal on continuously until you've completed your move. A couple of clicks isn't good enough. Always signal your intentions when turning, changing lanes and merging back into traffic."
We all know drinking and driving will cost you but a conviction will cost you an additional surcharge from the Department of Public Safety. What is the annual surcharge that must be paid to the state for a first time DWI conviction? Is it $500 a year for three years or $1,000 a year for three years?
The answer is $1,000 a year for three years. Trooper Sparky Dean says, "A surcharge penalty is in addition to other fines. A first time DWI conviction could cost you as much as $15,000. That includes surcharges, fines, attorney fees, court costs and mandatory classes." Surcharges will accumulate with each DWI conviction. A second DWI will cost you an additional $1,500 a year.