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Dear Mahatma: Is it illegal to go to the bathroom on the side of the road? -- Jill

Dear Jill: You ask the best questions. You once asked about having an open container of alcoholic beverage in a vehicle -- essentially illegal if within arm's reach of the driver, we learned from law enforcement officials.

In any event, thank you for this, because it gave us a chance to reconnect with Bill Sadler of the Arkansas State Police.

We figure he was rolling his eyes when our email appeared, but he's a professional and did his duty for our readers.

Sadler said there is no specific law or regulation applicable here, but his best advice is to use the proper facilities when the need arises.

This reminds us of a kid, 10 at the time, who was headed out on a road trip with his parents. As his father was about to leave the driveway, the boy asked, "When are we going to stop? Because I really need to go!"

By the way, a check of the Arkansas Department of Transportation shows 12 of its rest stops are scattered around the state. Our favorite is in Texarkana, because it has coffee. And because in a prominent place it used to display a photo of Kane Webb, director of Parks and Tourism for several years before leaving in December for the corporate world.

Webb's photo made us proud, because we worked with him for many years at this newspaper. It's always good to see an old newspaperman go straight and get a real job.

Seriously, people, let's turn the floor back to Sadler. He has three further thoughts.

First, remember that parking along an interstate highway is illegal. Find the nearest exit onto a service road or a two-lane road. If the stop is along a two-lane road, park no less than 3 feet from the edge of the highway and exit the vehicle only when the nearest traffic lane is clear of vehicles.

Second, find appropriate cover, out of sight to avoid allegations or complaints of exposing oneself. Use common sense.

Finally, quickly return to your vehicle and use the utmost caution to carefully re-enter the traffic lane, avoiding all oncoming vehicles.

This sent us to the law books to find Arkansas Code Annotated 5--14-112, Indecent Exposure. We respectfully decline to explain the definition of indecent exposure. But as Casey Stengel used to say, you could look it up.

Now we're reminded of another road trip -- four golfers driving from Memphis to Little Rock on Interstate 40. Night. Dark. Several of the golfers gotta go.

Pull off an exit onto a road next to a farm field. Hop out. Stupidly leave open the doors.

Mosquitoes swarm the cab. Much swatting the rest of the way to Little Rock.

From this experience we deduce golfers and 10-year-olds have a lot in common.

Vanity plate on a red Mini Cooper convertible: JUSTFUN

Metro on 04/13/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: If you gotta go, make it quick, safe


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Archived Comments

  • Lifelonglearner
    April 13, 2019 at 9:53 a.m.

    After a near disaster being stuck in one of those Bermuda Triangle traffic jams between Earl and Forest City, I have become obsessive about pit stops before I enter that area. I remember that when most tactical Army units were mostly male, there was a "requirement" to regularly pull over to the shoulder of the old two lane highways and "lubricate" the passenger side tires.

  • kellyinlrarusa
    April 13, 2019 at 12:34 p.m.

    i'm a male truck driver. and sometimes those rest area are closed . and if i ever get caught i'll just say . could not have been me, i feel like a woman today.. lol

  • HarleyOwner
    April 13, 2019 at 12:50 p.m.

    Way back when we had that snow that had motorist stranded for at least 12 hours on I-30 I bet there was a lot of that going on.

  • nlrar009
    April 13, 2019 at 5:09 p.m.

    The moat likely charge for this would be Disorderly Conduct, ACA 5-71-207.