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Archive: December 2013



Motorists never know what the weather is going bring, especially during a winter in Arkansas.  That's why we encourage motorists to always carry tire chains in their vehicle during the winter.

It's true that under some conditions, vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds or less and not towing or being towed may be allowed to use traction tires in place of chains, but not always.

Generally, when you see a sign indicating that chains are required, here is what it means:

  • Vehicles towing, being towed or rated over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) must use chains.

  • Vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less and not towing must use either chains or traction tires. 

But you should be aware that sometimes the roads are so bad that everyone must use chains.  That´s called a conditional closure.  Under a conditional closure, no one goes through without chains, even if you´re driving a four-wheel drive with traction tires. 
"Chains" include link chains, cable chains or any other device that attaches to the wheel, vehicle, or outside of the tire, which is specifically designed to increase traction in ice and snow conditions.  A "traction tire" is defined as a studded tire. Studded tires are legal in Arkansas from November 15 to April 15.   A "traction tire" may also be a tire that meets tests identified by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) defining the tire as suitable for use in severe snow conditions. 
Tires are the single most important mechanical component to safe driving.  Your ability to control your car is based upon friction with the ground beneath your wheels. The only contact you have is through the tires. Under normal conditions the contact patch is about the size of your palm.  Under heavy cornering, that patch may shrink to the size of your thumbprint.  Therefore the condition of your tires is critical, even more so in winter driving.  If your tire tread is getting thin, replace your tires. 
Slick road conditions require that your steering, acceleration and braking be smoother.  Any actions you take as a driver result in weight shift that decreases the stability of your vehicle.  The harsher the action, the more weight shift occurs and the harder it is to control.  So if you jerk the wheel or stab the brakes, you are much more likely to lose traction and begin to slide.  Small mistakes can become big problems.  So slow down, keep your eyes up and, whatever you do, do it smoothly. 
Remember that it takes longer to stop on slick roads, so give yourself a break and increase your following distance. 
The single most important thing to remember when driving in inclement weather is: You must slow down! 
Winter brings longer hours of darkness with decreased visibility.  Do you realize that if you have a headlight out, you can only see half as well as you should?  If headlights are out of alignment, that also hampers your ability to see.  You can´t avoid what you don´t see
Traffic signs and roadway markers are reflectorized and can create the false impression that you can see much farther than you can.  In reality, the things you see are artificially illuminated; the things you run into are not. You can´t avoid what you don´t see

Check all your lights to be sure they are working properly.  Brake lights and turn signals are there to let other drivers know what you´re going to do, but that doesn't work if you forget to use the signals.


"The holiday season is here and shoppers are crowding malls and discount stores to buy the latest gadgets and find the best deals. Shoppers need to make sure they are not neglecting their safety. This time of year attracts more shopping-related criminal activity because of the larger crowds and the extended store hours. These factors and the usual distraction of shopping, creates a more favorable environment for petty thieves and other offenders."

We would like to remind all Jefferson County residents to follow these safety tips: 

A single shopper is the best target for theft. Always shop with a friend or relative. When going shopping, tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you to return.  Also, make sure they know what you are wearing, as well as the type of vehicle you are driving.

Shop during daylight hours.  If you shop at night, park your vehicle in a well-lit area.

Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.  If carrying cash, keep it in your front pocket rather than in a purse or wallet.  This makes it much more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove.  Also store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket.  If your purse is stolen, you will still be able to drive home.

Pay careful attention to your surroundings and avoid overloading yourself with packages.  It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat.  Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason.  Have your car keys in your hand to avoid spending unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle.

If you feel uneasy returning to your vehicle alone, find a security guard and ask them to walk you to your car.

During this time of year, busy holiday shoppers become careless and vulnerable to other crimes as well.  Credit card fraud and gift card fraud are on the rise.  However, taking a few preventive measures can help.

When it comes to credit card fraud:

Keep a close watch on your credit card every time you use it, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible.

Never write your PIN number on your credit card.

Never leave your credit cards or receipts lying around.

Shield your credit card number so that others around you can’t copy it or capture it on a mobile telephone or other camera.

Only carry credit cards that you absolutely need.

Shred anything with your credit card number written on it.

If you’re planning to purchase online, make sure the web page where you enter your credit card information is secure through SSL (Secure Socket Layer).  You can tell if the web page is secure by looking for the gold lock or key icon at the bottom corner of your browser window.

If you’re not comfortable submitting your information through the internet, call the seller and give them your information over the telephone.  Never send your credit card information via email.

Check the company out.  Only do business with companies that provide a physical address and telephone number. 

Keep good records.  Always print out a copy of any online products or services you purchase.

Regarding gift card fraud:

Never buy gift cards from online auction sites.  This is a large source of gift card fraud.  Many of the gift cards are stolen, counterfeit or used.

Only buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer’s website.

Don’t buy gift cards off of publicly displayed racks in retail stores.  Only purchase gift cards at the sales terminal from the cashier.

Always carefully examine both the front and back of a gift card before you buy it.  If you see a PIN number, ask for a different card.  If the card looks like it has been tampered with in any way, put it back.

Always ask the store cashier to scan the gift card in front of you.  This will guarantee that your card is valid when you buy it and that it reflects the balance you just charged it with.

Always keep your receipt as a proof of purchase as long as there is money stored on the gift card.

If possible, register your gift card at the store’s website

Never give your Social Security number, date of birth or any other unneeded private information when purchasing a gift card.  No reputable company will ask for this information.

“In light of these problems, we would like to warn shoppers to be careful so that they don’t become the victim of criminal activity.  Unfortunately, when shopping, people have a tendency to let their guard down; however, paying attention and taking precautions can help eliminate your chances of being victimized.”