News from the desk of Sheriff James Potter

"Keeping you Safe on the Road"

Dear DeSoto County,

I have written in the past about traffic safety, and now I feel compelled to bring up the topic again and include some important tips for all of us to keep in mind as we navigate our day on the roads of DeSoto County.

Both the state and county are growing every day! Our population is increasing as well as drivers on our roadways. Some are local folks, while others are just passing through the county. The most important issue to overcome is to be a defensive driver. This means watching out for other traffic including cars, trucks, bicycles and pedestrians. Always look to avoid putting yourself at risk, driving defensively and not letting yourself become flustered is the key to navigating a safe trip on our roadways, or if you travel outside of DeSoto County. There are many safe driving tips we can follow, here are just a few:

Focus on Driving – Prioritize distraction-free driving! Maintaining focus on the road is key to driving safely. To stay focused while driving, follow these steps:

  1. No multi-tasking! Always keep 100% of your attention on driving.
  2. Avoid using your phone or any other electronic device while driving.
  3. Slow down! Speeding gives you less time to react and can increase the severity of a crash.

Drive Defensively – Use crash-preventing techniques to focus on driving safely. To practice defensive driving:

  1. Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing and expect the unexpected.
  2. Assume other drivers on the road will do something crazy, and always be prepared to avoid it.
  3. Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, about a 2-second cushion.
  4. Make it 4 seconds if you are driving through bad weather.

Make a safe driving plan – Set yourself up for success! Prepare effectively for your route ahead by knowing your destination AND an alternate route. This is crucial when handling surprise developments:

  1. Set aside time into your trip to stop for food, rest breaks, phone calls or other business.
  2. Adjust your seat, mirrors and climate controls before putting the car in gear.
  3. Pull over to eat or drink. It takes only a few minutes.

Take extra safety precautions - Concentrate on driving safely and preparing for a safe trip:

  1. Secure any items that may move around while the vehicle is moving.
  2. Don’t attempt to retrieve items that fall to the floor. Wait until you can pull over and come to a complete stop.
  3. Have items needed within easy reach – such as toll fees, toll cards or a garage pass.
  4. Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free.

Prepare an emergency kit in the trunk of your car – This can include things like blankets, a first-aid kit and jumper cables. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and your car always has a full tank of gas. Fill up at halfway to ensure your tank is ready to go.

As we drive each day, remember to practice safe driving habits, be patient and courteous to other drivers around you. We can all manage to arrive at our destination if we adhere to the responsibilities of being a safe driver.

Be Safe, Be Kind, God Bless.
Sheriff Potter