The Top 10 Emergency Items You Need in Your Car

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Checklist: The Top 10 Emergency Items You Need in Your Car
“Today is the day I’m going to get stranded on the road,” said no one, ever. Be prepared with this quick list of items that can make a bad situation a little easier.

1.) Jumper cables along with info on how to use them

2.) A fully charged cell phone. Even if you don’t think you have reception in your area, the phone company may be able to locate you by triangulating your position with cell towers.

3.) A first-aid kit. Check occasionally to make sure items such as ointments aren’t expired.

4.) A map for the area you will be traveling in. This may seem archaic, but when your cell phone dies, an old-fashioned map may come in handy.

5.) A flashlight with extra batteries. Don’t depend on your phone’s flashlight as that feature can really drain your battery.

6.) Duct tape. Duct tape is used for everything from prom dresses to saving the lives of astronauts in space, and it is also handy for some emergency roadside fixes such as holding up a bumper or keeping a hood closed.

7.) Bottled water and protein bars. Most people can only go two to three days without water. You can survive a lot longer without food than you can without water, but I hate to even skip lunch, so keeping a few protein bars in your car is a good idea.

8.) Emergency blanket or towel. You can buy survival blankets for about $1. They are a compact, lightweight, waterproof blanket that can be used for heat deflection, as a wind and rain barrier, for body heat insulation, or as a rescue signal.

9.) A handy, all-purpose tool set. Nothing too elaborate. You’ll need the basics. If you toss in a tire pressure gauge and spare fuses, you’ll be even better off.

10.) A small fire extinguisher. It’s not often that you need one, but it could make the difference between having one burnt hose or a charbroiled car.

And a bonus item…

11.) Roadside flares

Getting Out of a Speeding Ticket

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Getting Out of a Speeding Ticket
This month we are fortunate to have patrol officer Jason Hoschouer share what goes into his decision to either issue a ticket or a warning to a driver. Here are Officer Jason Hoschouer’s insights:

Of all the questions I’ve been asked over the last 17 years, I get this one the most: How can I get out of a ticket? What follows are the four standards by which I judge whether or not to cite.

Attitude:
If the driver has a bad one, the warning option never enters the equation. There’s a reason we refer to the “attitude test.” If a driver is stopped and remains courteous and respectful, the odds of a warning soar upward.

Driving history:
If we’ve met before, there is very little chance I will grant a reprieve. If I’m on the fence about whether or not to cite, my first go-to is dispatch. Run the person’s driver’s license and ask for a driving history. If you have none and your attitude is good, you may just have earned yourself a pass.

Honesty:
Similar to attitude, honesty plays a huge role. If someone seems as pleasant as a spring day but says they’ve never had a cell phone citation, and their driving history reveals three prior violations – well then, welcome to the fourth.

Responsibility:
Someone could have a great attitude, zero driving history and honestly think they didn’t commit the violation for which they were stopped. While that person may not necessarily be purposefully deceitful, they may very well refuse to take responsibility.

Often, in regards to speeding, people want to know what the “magic number” is. I’ve heard the rumors myself. I hear things like:

If you stay at/under 10 mph over the speed limit, you’re good.
If you “go with the flow of traffic” it’s perfectly OK.

Both are rubbish. The fact of the matter is, the speed limit is set for a reason. The police can stop someone for exceeding that posted limit. Whether or not the officer cites the driver for the violation is completely within that officer’s discretion.

Certain crimes require an officer to take action – domestic violence, for instance. Traffic issues, however, are primarily infractions, and the officer is granted the ability to make a decision. Personally, my “number” changes based on the current conditions (traffic, weather, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) and could be different four hours from now based on the changing circumstances.

Follow the rules
We all wish the motoring public would know and understand that the bottom line for them is simple: Follow the rules of the road. When the police have occasion to stop a motorist, that driver should be polite and honest and take responsibility.

A real-life warning
Here’s an example of a stop just the other day that resulted in the driver receiving a warning.

I was running LIDAR (police laser) in front of my local high school and got a car doing 40 in a school zone. I put the LIDAR in the holster and got ready to turn my emergency lights on. The driver pulled over, negating the necessity for me to move at all. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “Yeah. You totally got me.”

I just started to laugh. I walked over to contact him, and the first words out of his mouth were, “I was going too fast, officer. I’m sorry. Figured I’d just pull over here. You got me fair and square.”

Not only did he make me laugh, but he also took full responsibility for his actions and was honest. That gentleman got a warning. Other motorists would do well to follow his lead.

Note from Honda Oakland: please remember that the easiest way to avoid being one of the 93,000 people who get a ticket each day, is not to speed.
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Jason Hoschouer is a law enforcement officer with an agency in the San Francisco Bay area in California. In addition to patrolling the streets as a motor officer, Hoschouer’s column on PoliceOne covers everything from motors to monies, from britches to budgets. Jason has been blogging under the pseudonym “Motorcop” at motorcopblog.com since 2008 and was also a columnist for American COP Magazine for several years.