ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.
The most recent edition of Ask Trooper Steve centers around face masks.
“If you’ve been on my Facebook page recently, you might’ve seen something that started quite the conversation earlier this week,” Trooper Steve said. “I made a post about how people should stop hanging their face masks or shields from their rear view mirror.”
Trooper Steve said he was surprised at the reaction from many.
“Under the instructions for a disabled decal, for your vehicle it specifically says you are not to drive around with it hanging from your rear view mirror,” he said. “There is a specific reason for this. Those decals are roughly 8 inches by 4 inches, so they cause a visual obstruction."
Yes, Trooper Steve made that comparison.
“Since 2010, I have investigated over 2,000 crashes throughout Central Florida. From minor fender benders to life-altering events, I have not only seen every possible crash, but I have heard every possible excuse to why a crash occurred,” he said. “With the recent pandemic on our hands, we have had to add wearing masks to our repertoire of things that we do on a daily basis. Putting those masks in places where we remember them now includes hanging them from the rear view mirror for some of you. I don’t believe there is one person out there putting them on the mirror other than the simple fact of making sure that you remember them. But this is a disaster waiting to happen."
Trooper Steve said, for one, it’s just gross.
“It’s like taking a handkerchief that you use and hanging it there after you’ve used it,” he said.
But he added that there’s another reason, too.
“Let’s be real, these masks come in all shapes, colors and sizes, and hanging them from the mirror does you, as the driver, absolutely no good,” he said. “If there is one thing that is absolutely necessary while operating a motor vehicle, it’s your eyesight."
An obstruction to any portion of your windshield could cause a reactionary delay and result in a crash, whether it be minor or devastating.
“I know plenty of you are thinking right now, ‘Is he really making this a big deal?' And the answer to that is yes,” Trooper Steve said. “None of you have seen the things I have seen on the road. The simplest of things could cause a major crash.”
Bottom line: stop hanging masks from your mirrors! Trooper Steve suggested hanging them near your gearshift or attach it to the center console.
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