Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bright Lights

We've all done it. You see a cop working a stretch of road, and you flicker your bright lights to signal to other motorists that they are approaching a cop.

Police officers are not idiots. We normally work in zones, which is to say that I might be working Highway 28 east of the airport and my buddy might be working the same stretch of road, west of the airport. There is plenty to do, usually, in both zones, and occasionally one of us will set up on the side of the road to be seen by traffic while we do paperwork. The radio traffic keeps us pretty much informed about where the other is working.

Lets say I an working close to my zone boundary and I see a car approaching, lights flashing. The motorist is trying to tell me that I am approaching a cop. I know that. Yet, it irks me, so I turn around and make a traffic stop. The conversation might go like this.

Me: "Ma'am, I pulled you over because your headlights were flashing and I'm concerned that there might be some problem with your lighting equipment. Do you have any idea why your bright lights were flashing like that? I need to see your license, registration, and proof of insurance."

She: "Why no, Officer. I really can't explain that." As she digs in the glove box for the registration.

Me: "Part of my job, ma'am, is to help you stay safe on the road. Lets conduct a little inspection, please. Turn on your bright lights, please. Thank you. Now, your dims? Lets look at your blinkers. Thanks. Now, step on your brake pedal. Very good."

She" "Officer, I really don't have any idea what the problem might have been."

Me: "Me either, Ma'am. Everthing seems to be working properly now. You might want to have your mechanic look at it, first chance you get."

She: "I'll do that, officer, first thing tomorrow."

Me: "You drive carefully, and have a nice evening."

I will probably have to explain myself to Saint Peter, one of these days.

7 comments:

Standard Mischief said...

Isn't that perhaps people using their freedom of speech to say that they don't appreciate the revenue-enhancement portion of the speed trap? That perhaps they would prefer that the police go after those idiots that can't merge properly on the on-ramp or pull into the fast lane like they want to pass, but pace the car besides them for a bit instead?

I suppose I'd tell officer friendly that I pulled the wrong lever trying to get windshield washer fluid.

Pawpaw said...

Speed Trap? Who said anything about a speed trap? Why is it that everyone who sees a cop on the shoulder of the road thinks we're running radar?

Geez. When I was on the road, my cruiser didn't have a radar gun installed. I was in Patrol, which meant I patrolled. Answered calls, assisted people.

The last summer I was on the road, I wrote exactly one ticket. The guy deserved it.

Standard Mischief said...

Windshield washer fluid. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anonymous said...

There was a court case some time back -- the exact cite escapes me -wherein a person was arrested for flashing their lights to warn of an impending speed trap. The court held that this sort of signaling was protected speech and dismissed the charges.

So simply tell the police that you were warning other motorists of the 'revenue enhancing device'.

Buffboy said...

I've done the flash of lights thing hundreds of times to warn of critters on the road, police, some other kind road obstruction warning. As an officer, I'd never have turned around to stop the vehicle. When I'm rolling the radar is usually on and running. They have a radar detector, they slow down. The person behind slows because of the braking wondering why. They see someone flashing their lights they slow down and usually sit up a little straighter, putting their own radar (mark 2 eyeball) on highbeam. The whole point is to get compliance with the law. Ultimately, that's exactly what I want. Tickets are just more work.

George said...

St. Peter will understand. If a patrol deputy can't have a little fun on his shift, who can?

Jeffro said...

I'd have told you the truth.