David Stacy, president of the Northside Public Safety Council, discusses vehicle safety tips, reasons not to tailgate, and how to join the monthly Northside Public Safety Council meetings.

By David Stacy

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Training via Wikimedia Commons

It has come to our attention in the past several years that vehicles that are newer and controlled by electrical systems-powered doors and windows can leave you locked within your vehicle if the electrical system fails, leaving the doors and windows unable to work and leaving you locked inside of your vehicle with no way out. 

You should always have your cell phone with you and powered up to make an emergency call for assistance. It is encouraged to have a portable battery that can charge your phone in case your vehicle’s electrical system fails. You can obtain these battery backups from most retailers from between $10-20. Do not leave these batteries in your vehicle: If it’s cold outside and in your vehicle, they will lose their charge. When it’s extremely hot outside and they’re in your vehicle, these batteries can combust and catch fire. 

Also recommended is to have a glass breaker and a seat belt cutter as windows in vehicles are designed to be very difficult to break. Bats, stones, and crowbars may not break these windows, but a glass breaker can and will shatter a window with just one tap. Also, if someone were to hit your vehicle from the side, it can in fact push you in and jar your seat belt, leaving you trapped in your seat belt with no way of escape, but a seat belt cutter can cut your seat belt with ease and allow escape from the vehicle. You can obtain both of these tools in one for as little as $5 and they can be lifesavers. This tool should be left in your vehicle at all times and be accessible.                                                           

Don’t tailgate. You should always have your vehicle at least one car’s length behind a vehicle per every 10 mph that you’re traveling. For instance, if you’re traveling at a speed of 30 mph, that would be three car lengths behind; 60 mph, six car lengths behind. This strategy should leave you ample time and room if a vehicle in front of you were to stop abruptly. Remember to follow the law and guidelines when securing your children safely in your vehicle with baby seats and seat belt guidelines. Consider keeping your pets secured as well in your vehicle while driving.

Lastly, Spring should be in our midst this time next month. However, in winter months it’s encouraged to have sand or cheap cat litter in your vehicle as this can help your vehicle from being stuck in snow and ice. If you put this under your tires that are stuck, it can give you traction to get your vehicle out of this jam. As always, please look after one another and your neighbors who are elderly, disabled, or less fortunate. 

Please join us on our monthly Northside Public Safety Council (NSPSC) meetings via Zoom. They’re on the first Thursday of every month at 5:30 pm. The Zone 1 Police Department, Housing Authority, City of Pittsburgh Safety Department, representatives from the Mayor’s office, and representatives from Councilman Wilson and Councilman Lavelle’s offices attend our monthly meetings for reports and Q&As every month as well as guest speakers on different public safety topics. 

Please contact us at Zone1psc@gmail.com or call 412-321-0295 for the Zoom link or with questions.

David Stacy is the president of NSPSC.

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