Q I found myself in heated discussion with a co-worker about the proper protocol when calling 911 for a roadside problem. He said if the phone keeps ringing, just hang up. I said you should stay on the line. What do police recommend?

Bruce Hancock

A Stay on the line. Here is advice offered by police dispatchers to motorists making 911 calls on their cellphones.

  • Don't hang up if the phone keeps ringing. The CHP receives 50 to 100 calls for each crash that occurs. Your call may be bounced from one cell site to another, leaving what dispatchers call a "phantom" ring. You can hear ringing, but the call hasn't gone to a dispatcher while the signal searches for a cell site. You think no one is picking up the phone, but in reality it's not ringing on the other end. Stay on the line.

  • Know where you are; know the name or number of the road you're on and nearest cross street or exit number. Cellphone calls to the CHP do not always pinpoint a driver's location or list a phone number.

  • Be calm. The dispatcher may ask several questions that seem unimportant, yet are critical in helping determine what type of response is needed.

  • Tell the dispatcher what is happening and where. Describe vehicles involved. Are they blocking traffic? Are there injuries? Is anyone trapped inside?

  • If you see emergency equipment on scene, do not call 911. Someone most likely already has. However, if you have more information, such as seeing a person flee an accident, call.

  • Provide your cellphone number before hanging up, in case police need to call you back.

    Q Last Friday another car hit the center median at the Valley Surprise on Highway 17. I suspect the vehicle was traveling too fast for the curve.

    Does anyone have plans to improve north 17 between Summit Road and Los Gatos? For example, speed signs are posted on two curves on south 17. If speed signs and flashing fellow lights were added, many accidents could be prevented.

    Robert Hull

    Scotts Valley

    A Safety improvements are nearly complete. The four-decade-old drainage system will be replaced with a system able to drain off excess water much faster. In addition, all concrete and metal-beam guardrails beyond the right shoulder that were not up to current standards or had been damaged will be replaced or reconstructed. Final paving repairs will be made this spring. No additional signage is planned.

    Q The other week my wife and I watched as a private truck accepting furniture donations raced down our court in south San Jose. Nobody on our street had offered items, but the truck donated to us instead: A section of couch fell off, along with a 150-pound entertainment center no longer holding together after the fall. The truck didn't even slow down; we didn't get a plate.

    We've had most of it hauled away at our own expense, but for next time do we have a better option?

    Dave Lyons

    San Jose

    A Contact the Department of Transportation at 408-0794-1900 or fire off an email to Streets.Dispatch@sanjoseca.gov. If the material is causing an immediate safety hazard, crews will be dispatched to remove the material.

    Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com; follow him at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or at 408-920-5335.