Ask a Trooper

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2001

Question: If I am going the speed limit, do I still need to pull over if there are five or more vehicles behind me?

Answer: No, you are not required to, but it's still a good idea, because 13 AAC 02.050(b) states that on a two-lane road in a rural area, if passing is unsafe due to weather or road conditions, the driver of a vehicle going less than the speed limit must pull over and let traffic pass if there are five or more vehicles behind it.

This means going the speed limit at all times, not just down hill and on the straight stretches, so if you cannot maintain the speed limit while going up hill, you need to pull over at the nearest safe place.

I said before it's a good idea to let traffic pass even if you are going the speed limit. That's because if people behind you get impatient, they may resort to dangerous driving, such as passing in a no-passing zone, to get around you.

I certainly don't condone speeding, but I'd rather see you take 30 seconds and let them go past than have them endangering more people by driving recklessly to get around you because they are in a hurry.

You may be legally right in not pulling over to let them pass, but we all need to do what we can to reduce the deadly trend of road rage.

Think of it this way. If you don't let someone pass, and they kill a child while passing you in a no-passing zone, they are 100 percent legally at fault. But how well will you sleep at night?

Question: Recently, I heard of insurance companies denying claims for stolen cars if the car was stolen with the keys still in it. Can they do that?

Answer: I, too, have heard of this trend, and I think it makes sense. It is up to the individual insurance companies whether they will honor such claims, but hopefully this trend of denying these claims will encourage more people to lock their cars and take their keys with them.

In every single stolen vehicle case I have ever investigated, the keys had been left in an unattended vehicle. People feel they'll only be inside for a minute or that they live in a safe neighborhood, but it can happen to anyone at anytime.

Mayberry does not exist in Alaska.

Look at it from the thief's point of view. Why should he bother to steal your car if your neighbor or the person parked next to you in the parking lot was kind enough to leave their car unlocked with the keys in it?

Of course, if you were the one who was nice enough to leave your keys in the car, your neighbor may thank you.

Also, many people are unaware there is actually a law against this. 13 AAC 02.480 states in part that no one may leave a vehicle unattended without first shutting it off, putting it in gear or park and taking the keys from the ignition. The penalty for violating this law is $20.

If you have questions that you would like to ask a trooper, please send them to: Alaska State Troopers, 4060 Heath St., Homer, AK 99603. Or you can e-mail them to Chad_Goeden@dps.state.ak.us. The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.



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