Avoiding Accidents from Backing Up Police Vehicles
Category: Law Enforcement
Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol.
Today’s Tip is for my law enforcement friends. Over the years I’ve seen so many cops crash their patrol vehicles. Thankfully, most of the crashes don’t involve injuries. Usually there’s only minor property damage.
Have a strategy in mind as you pull into a parking lot for dinner. Look for a spot to park that does not require backing. Like everything else in police work, be aware of your surroundings.
As I looked at these crashes, I noticed a lot of them involved backing patrol vehicles at slow speeds. It’s true. A trained police officer and expert driver backs a patrol vehicle into things on a frequent basis.
Law enforcement vehicles are cluttered with extras these days. I’m dating myself, but as a young officer, I didn’t have much in the car that blocked my vision. Now, there are cameras, cages, tinted windows, and other things that block our view.
Don’t get upset at me for saying this, but when you see a fire apparatus backing, what do you typically see behind it? You guessed it. A firefighter. Ensuring the driver doesn’t back the vehicle into something.
When you see a patrol car backing up, what do you see behind it? Usually nothing. All you see is the officer squirming in his or her seat to look through every obstruction, hoping to catch a glimmer of roadway behind him or her.
I understand that most law enforcement agencies out there have only one person in the vehicle. There’s generally no spotter to help you back up.
So, have a strategy in mind as you pull into a parking lot for dinner. Look for a spot to park that does not require backing. Like everything else in police work, be aware of your surroundings.
As you arrive at the next call for service, think about parking. Can you park in a manner that keeps you from backing the patrol vehicle? Consider potential changes in lighting conditions. Will it be dark when you get ready to leave that call for service? How will darkness change your visibility when you leave the scene?
There are times when you can’t avoid it. Just remember, next time it might not be a fixed object in a parking lot. It could be a young child that you don’t see.
And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.