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Driver tip: It’s illegal to hang items blocking your view

Driving is a personal journey.

Some people like to decorate their vehicles by dangling necklaces, graduation tassels, rosaries or other sentimental items from the rear-view mirror.

Other motorists might be more practical with an air freshener or a handicap placard.

Unfortunately, it’s illegal and potentially dangerous to hang any item that might block your view of the road.

In separate emails to the Road Warrior, Bill from Las Vegas and Barbara from Sun City Anthem wanted to know whether it was permissible — let alone, safe — to drive with objects hanging from the rear-view mirror.

“I tried driving with a handicap placard and believe me, it’s distracting,” Bill said.

It’s a misdemeanor to drive with any type of object obstructing the driver’s forward view, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Buratczuk said.

The maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Kevin Malone said.

“Sometimes we see an air freshener or necklace hanging from a rear-view mirror, which is not a huge deal, but we will usually educate the driver and have them remove the obstruction,” Buratczuk said.

But handicap placards are another matter. Not only are they large, but the placards clearly warn drivers to not leave them hanging while a vehicle is in motion.

“We do enforce obstructed view laws because it’s a matter of safety for other drivers on the road,” Buratczuk said.

Dangerous intersection

Joe from Las Vegas wanted to know whether the county planned to install a four-way stop sign or a traffic signal at Tompkins Avenue and Tee Pee Lane on the west side of the valley, where a 26-year-old man died in a crash caused by a man who was allegedly driving under the influence in May.

A 47-year-old man was driving his Chevrolet Camaro east on Tompkins “at a high rate of speed” when he ran a stop sign at Tee Pee, Las Vegas police said in May. The Camaro hit the driver’s side of a Ford Fiesta driven by the 26-year-old man, who died at the scene.

“I travel this road every day and it has always been a dangerous intersection, mainly because there are blind corners on every side,” Joe said. “I always slow down for fear that someone will go through the stop sign.”

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said that traffic engineers will study the intersection by fall.

Work on Eastern

Marlene from Las Vegas wanted to know what type of construction activity was happening along Eastern Avenue between Wigwam Avenue and Warm Springs road on the southeast side of the valley.

Crews are resurfacing the road, adding some pavement marking and widening the Eastern Avenue offramp from the eastbound 215 Beltway, Kulin said. Construction is expected to wrap up by the end of August.

Light adjustments

Don from Las Vegas said the timing appears to be different for the traffic signal at Jones Boulevard and Washington Avenue.

“It used to be green for 10 to 15 seconds in each direction,” Don said. “Now,the signal lasts over a minute for east-west travel on Washington, and less than 10 seconds for north-south traffic on Jones. I don’t call that efficient.”

Traffic lights were places on a fixed time cycle as crews recently completed utility repairs at the intersection, Las Vegas city spokeswoman Margaret Kurtz said. The work is part of a larger pavement rehabilitation project for Washington, between Jones and Rainbow boulevards.

Regular signal phasing will resume when the project is completed.

Green signs

Frank from Henderson wanted to know why road signs usually have white letters printed on a green field.

“It is very hard to read at night for me as a senior citizen,” Frank said. “Is it because a black background is not as cool as green?”

States and the federal government started standardizing road signs in the 1920s, selecting different sign colors and shapes to designate various items, said Tony Illia, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Green signs indicate guide messages including mile markers, upoming exits and the distance to the next town.

“As such, they appear in white letters on a green background for improved contrast and readability, especially at night,” Illia said. “Nevada further enhances readability by using diamond reflective sheeting and lighting.”

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