Traffic Tip Tuesday: Yard sale season brings congested neighborhoods, increased traffic crashes

It’s getting warmer outside, which means spring cleaning is in full swing. What does spring cleaning have to do with driving and traffic? Well, with spring cleaning comes the official opening of yard sale season and all of the navigation through congested neighborhoods. With this comes an increased number of traffic crashes, both injury and non injury. The vast majority of these crashes can be prevented by following a few traffic laws that are commonly violated. These laws specifically deal with parking, giving your full attention to the roadway, and following the vehicle in front of you at an adequate distance.

  • 66-7-351 and §66-7-352 of New Mexico State Statute covers some general parking instructions

You should not park in the following locations:

~On a sidewalk

~In front of a public or private driveway

~Within an intersection

~Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant

~In a crosswalk

~Within 25 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection

~Within 30 feet of a flashing beacon, stop sign or traffic-control signal

~Along or opposite any street excavation if parking would obstruct traffic

~On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at a curb or side of the street

~Upon any bridge, elevated piece of highway, or in a tunnel

Unless otherwise provided by New Mexico’s parking laws, every vehicle stopped or parked must have the right-hand wheels parallel to the curb within 18 inches

  • 66-8-114 of New Mexico State Statute covers Careless driving

A. Any person operating a vehicle on the highway shall give his full time and entire attention to the operation of the vehicle.

B. Any person who operates a vehicle in a careless, inattentive or imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, weather and road conditions and all other attendant circumstances is guilty of a misdemeanor.

What does “full time and entire attention” mean? Well, it’s just that; all of your attention must be given to operating the vehicle and paying attention to the roadway. Some common violations are: phone operation, doing your make up, eating, looking at something distracting on the road side (e.g. a yard sale), looking back to talk to rear seat passengers, reading a book or magazine, looking for something you may have lost in the car, ect. This list is comprised of real things we see which cause crashes and sometimes serious injury on a daily basis. Remember when you are driving, just drive.

  • 66-7-318 of New Mexico’s State Statute covers Following too closely.

The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

This sounds simple enough, but the truth is most of the motoring public travels much too closely to the vehicles in front of them. The simple overall rule of thumb is when a vehicle in front of you passes a stationary object, you should pass that object no sooner than three seconds later. This is assuming the road condition is good and the weather is clear. This is a general rule, as you should always increase distance as speeds exceed typical city speeds.

By following the above mentioned laws, your yard sale excursion should end as safely as it started.


The primary role of the Farmington Police Department’s Traffic Unit is to enforcement traffic laws and investigate traffic crashes and suspected DWI related stops. FPD officers participate in a number of selective enforcement programs managed by the Traffic Division. The programs are funded by grants administered through the New Mexico Traffic Safety Bureau and Safer New Mexico Now. These programs include Operation DWI (ODWI), Community DWI (CDWI), Operation Buckle Down (OBD), Click it or Ticket, and the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP). Each are geared toward gaining voluntary compliance of the citizens with regard to violations that contribute to traffic crashes.

The Traffic Division ad­dresses community concerns using the most appropriate methods. Examples include enforcing traffic laws, utilizing speed trailers, which aid in driver education and driver awareness; and placement of traffic counters to collect data on the total number of vehicles, time of day roadways are most commonly used, and average speeds.

For information about other divisions within the Farmington Police Department, visit