April 9, 2019

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Directing Traffic Safely

Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for law enforcement.

Most drivers are paying attention to everything except driving.  

Today’s tip is for law enforcement officers and it’s about staying safe while directing traffic. 

It’s no secret that directing traffic can be dangerous. The data consistently shows that all too many officers are hurt and killed while directing traffic. More vehicles than ever are on the roadAnd it seems like most of the drivers are paying attention to everything except driving.  

Here are suggestions that might help you stay safe when you need to direct traffic. 

Consider setting a malfunctioning signal on flashing red. This will signal everyone to stop. When the motorists stop, you will have a better opportunity to communicate with them. 

Be seen. Wear your reflective vest. Daand night. Consider activating the emergency lights on your patrol vehicle. Park off to the side and out of the intersection. That way your lights won’t block the drivers from seeing you.  

Use a lighted traffic control wand and simple, clear signals. 

Try and make eye contact with drivers. Make sure they see you.  

Watch the vehicle’s front tires for a clue about what direction they intend to go. 

Be heard. Use whistle. The shrill sound of a whistle can help get someone’s attention. One long blow for ‘stop’. Two short loud chirps for ‘go’. 

Take a strategic position. Look for the center of the intersectionStand in the where cars don’t normally go when turning or going straight.  

Resist the urge to walk up to an inattentive driver who is not following your instructions.  

Get help. Directing traffic can be a demanding task. Get someone to relieve you if need a break. And in larger intersections, two officers can work together. This requires good communication and a plan. 

Watch out for trucks busses and motorhomes. They need more space to maneuver. And those big mirrors are right about at head-level. 

This is serious stuff. Think it through.   

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

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