Calling 911 to report cars stalled in traffic: good? bad?

Once in a while I come across a car that has become disabled in a traffic lane. I make it a point to call 911 and report it so that the police can come and help manage the situation safely, leaving their car (with lights flashing) parked well behind the dead car to protect the scene from being rear-ended by other inattentive drivers until the dead car can be removed and the normal flow of traffic restored.

I will often call 911 to report (non-vehicle) objects in the road, too.

The 911 operator usually says thanks, but is it appreciated by the police, or am I wasting everybody’s time by calling this stuff in?

I don’t think any police department is going to be upset that someone is calling in a road hazard. In the case of a car stopped in the middle of traffic that could easily be considered an emergency. For other cases you might want to call the non-emergency number so it can be handled with the correct priority.

I’ve done the same thing many times. Serious road hazards, traffic light malfunctions, obviously drunk drivers (like weaving all over the damn road obvious) anything I think has a reasonable chance of causing injury gets reported as soon as I can safely do so.

Are you in a rural or urban area? High crime or low crime? I’d think that the sheriff of TinyIdyllicPodunkVille might be more appreciative than the cops in LockYourDoorsAndSleepWithAGun City.

I just broke down in heavy traffic the day before yesterday and am so glad that the person behind me got out to help me instead of just calling the cops on me. Whew!

If you’re talking to me, I’m a lot closer to Mayberry than I am to Metropolis.

I don’t think the cops would be coming to book you: just to help get you away from obstructing traffic. Breaking down isn’t a crime.

Yeah, well, cops here doing manual labor like pushing my car to get me out of traffic? Ha! They’d probably rather arrest me for being in the road or something. :stuck_out_tongue:

If I call the cops, it’s not to get you busted (you haven’t done anything wrong!); it’s to get them there so they can help guide traffic around you until your vehicle can be removed from the area. I do it for your safety and that of the motorists who may be texting, drunk, or masturbating (or all three) as they rapidly approach your location.

Check with your local police/fire/rescue personnel, and I think you’ll find that accidents involving cars that slam into a disabled vehicle on the roadway (or hit people wandering around that disabled vehicle) are quite common. Things will be safer for everyone if there’s an unoccupied police car 50 feet behind you putting on a red/white/blue light show. Even if inattentive motorists don’t see his lights, they’ll slam into his empty patrol car instead of you or your car.

Do you have non-emergency police numbers? Like in Chicago we have 311 for non-emergencies. In a case like the OP, I would call 311, not 911

In my jurisdiction, the non-emergency police lines are only manned from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. So I have called 911 for non-emergency issues before, when it is after the hours of the non-emergency line.

If I were stalled in traffic I would very much appreciate a cop or two showing up to park behind me w/ lights going. Getting rear-ended by someone on the phone or generally on autopilot would really put a crimp in my day!

on a fast road a stalled car is a hazard. some road patrol law enforcement vehicles have front bumpers made to push disabled vehicles.

I would count this as an emergency. It’s obviously not the same as a house on fire or a killer on the loose, but a stalled car on a major road needs emergency services attention quickly.

In my experience (from calling them) non-emergency numbers are for things that you’d leave a message for, and they’ll call you back when they have the time. Emergency numbers are for anything for which time is of the essence.

Even LockYourDoorsAndSleepWithAGun City has traffic cops who handle road hazards.

If it’s likely that I’m the first or third person to report it, I’d call it in. With ubiquitous cell phones, they probably get tons of calls about a single incident.