Why do cop cars continue to flash

I saw that once. Cop had someone pulled over. I don’t think he had any idea his lights had triggered the very nearby intersection to give him a green light. Meanwhile traffic was backing up onto a freeway since the perpendicular direction was for an offramp. I almost wondered if someone needed call 911 and have the dispatcher radio his car to tell him to shut his strobes off so the intersection could start moving again.

i’ve seen a number of times on slick roads (winter ice or snow) when people see the lights they hit the brakes abruptly and put themselves into a skid. that reaction would probably happen as soon as the person recognized the cop, lights on or not. with the lights on they get a chance to go into a skid farther away from the cop.

It is political to try to identify the inattentitive and stoned?

Not sure if this is the norm, but the police cars in my locale have the ability to turn the front of the flashing lights on only (or the back only)

Last time i got pulled over, the policeman turned the front portion off and kept the back flashing for safety purposes i assume.

Most states have that law or something similar. In Arkansas is is any vehicle at the side of the road with flashing lights, in others, it is emergency or official vehicles. It can be a hassle sometimes having to get over or losing speed, but it is worth it to lessen the chances of hitting someone.

This was a daytime thing, so the flashing lights weren’t really an issue, but for the matter of safety of cops in traffic stops:

I was driving west on I-20 just west of the Alabama/Georgia line a few months back. There’s a hard curve to the right with thick pine trees on the R.O.W., and right in that curve, a state trooper had a semi pulled over on the right.

I was in the right lane and saw the stopped police car, and I was only doing about 55-60, but the trooper was walking up the left side of the rig about 6 feet out into the right lane! By the time I saw him, all I could do was jump over into the left lane to avoid running him over. Fortunately, there was nobody alongside of me.

This had to be the worst possible place on the entire U.S. interstate system to stop.

I don’t know if this trooper was a rookie, but in this case, I really have to wonder what the hell he was thinking.

Another question is why do their sirens continue to sound even when the car is in park? I don’t understand why putting the car into park doesn’t automatically shut them off.

Because the transmission selector has no connection to the siren. I suppose that could be done, but there are times when the various sounds that that siren can make may be useful even when the car is stopped, so there’s no real reason to take away that flexibility. There’s no actual harm in the siren continuing to sound when the car is stopped, after all, so why not leave that in the officer’s control?

Really, you’d have to think that if that were the case there had to be a reason. It’s certainly not something anyone would do under normal circumstances, and it’s obviously risky. Certainly we can’t imagine all the different scenarios that might come into play during a traffic stop, but there must have been something that brought him out into that extremely odd position.

It doesn’t seem likely at all that it was simply because he was “a rookie,” because that typically brings with it acting “by the book,” exactly as trained – and that position is definitely not one that any department will train someone to take.

I got pulled over in Oklahoma recently (toll tag had expired - oops). Cop stopped some distance behind me, off to the side and angled so his car would not hit mine if rear ended. Turned off the front flashing lights, but left the back on, and kept that spotlight aimed on me at all times.

Came up the right side of the car (I had a passenger in the seat), which was mildly problematic because the front passenger window sticks shut on my car sometimes. But I got it worked out, and no ticket either.

Here in the UK (no doubt like elsewhere) we have a problem of rubberneckers causing accidents when they see flashing police lights.

A lot of modern police cars, especially on our motorways (which have a divided roadway), will only use rear-facing flashing lights when stopped. This warns drivers from behind, but doesn’t distract drivers travelling towards them.

My standard behavior if pulled over is to get my hand over to the remote buttons for the side mirror. Before I’ve drifted to a stop, I’ve tilted the mirror out or down slightly. Not enough to be obvious- but enough that I am not blind.

I always place BOTH hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2, and lower the window before the office gets to me. They can see me, see my hands and speak to me. I do not need to be blinded or have games played with me in order to safely deal with an officer.

Never had one say, " Hey asshole, adjust that mirror so you are completely blinded and disoriented or else !! "

:slight_smile:

Cartooniverse

Another reason is because the activated lights lets others know the officer is busy and you shouldn’t approach.

True story:

Back in about circa 1989 I was on a traffic stop with a very uncooperative driver when another car stopped across the street. A child about 5-6 years old got out of the other car, ran across the busy street, and began tugging at me asking for baseball cars while I was standing at the violators window. I ordered the kid to get away from me and leave the area. Kid got back into the car and the car left.
That car drove directly to the police station where the kids mother & father filed a complaint about me being rude. After a brief investigation my supervisors decided the best course of action was to issue mom, dad, and the kid (yes, the kid!) a municipal citation for obstructing an officer. The kids ticket meant a mandatory appearance in Juvi court. You should have heard those parents rant in court. Kids cite got kicked, parents got fined.

Point is, if you see flashing lights on an emergency vehicle, maybe that’s an area you don’t want to hang around. A “routine” traffic stop is an unknown risk. One never knows when it could be a shooting situation. Fire trucks parked on the street, lights on, you see no fire. Maybe they’re investigating a gas leak. Shootings and gas explosions. You really want to be in the middle of those?

Why would they be asking a police officer for baseball cards? Was it an attempt to disrupt the ticketing process?

Sounds like this kid’s parents were insane, but putting that aside, I don’t understand what the kid wanted – why would a police officer have baseball cards?

Don’t complain about the flashing lights. Here in Israel the police cars have their lights going all the time, even when there’s no emergency.

I still find it disconcerting to have a police car behind me when I’m driving, even though I know the flashing lights don’t mean anything. If they want you to pull over, the officer will either use the siren or yell at you over the PA system.

I wouldn’t mind it if they ran those old-fashioned spinning lights, but the modern flashing strobe lights are obnoxious and blinding. Don’t they ever cause seizures in epileptics?

It’s like that in most of Mexico, too. I hate when the transit cops get behind me.

I guess I’m learning something today. I thought this was universal.
In Southeastern Wisconsin many police agencies have specially printed baseball cards (here the team is, of course, the Milwaukee Brewers). The cards have a players picture and on the back there is some quote allegedly from the player saying something like “don’t do drugs” “stay away from guns”, “stay in school”, etc…
The bottom of the card will say “presented by such-&-such police department”.
It is a form of P.R. to get kids to approach and get to know the police. Lots of kids around here collect them and try to collect the entire set.

Like I said, I thought this was universal. I wonder if any of the other cops on these boards knew what I was talking about.

Overall it’s a good program. But parents need to teach their children not to interfere when an officer is busy. Not even for a vintage Rollie Fingers. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?VISuperSize&item=160551704951

I actually like it - it lets you know the cops are here, gives you time to clean up your act.

But then, I haven’t driven much abroad. I have this fear that someday I’ll find myself on some U.S. country road, a cop will flash his lights behind me, and I’ll just keep on driving, oblivious. I’ll probably end up in a high-speed chase without even knowing I’m in one.