FEATURED IN VEHICLE OPS
Fact: Speeding is a contributing factor in the majority of law enforcement vehicle accident deaths. Acknowledged: Responding to emergencies may require high-speed travel. Reality check: speeding should be avoided under certain circumstances, such as:
In poor weather: Speeding is dangerous enough under optimal conditions, but when you mix in rain, fog, ice or snow, the dangers increase dramatically. Avoid speeding in poor weather conditions and as you approach the speed limit in these conditions.
In residential neighborhoods: Although it may be difficult, keep your driving speed low during an emergency response, it s a must when driving through residential neighborhoods. With pedestrians, private driveways, children on bicycles and homes close to the road, residential neighborhoods present potential dangers officers must recognize.
At intersections: Too often, officers believe using the lights and siren on their patrol cars is enough to alert other drivers before running red lights and driving fast through intersections in an emergency. Nothing could be further from the truth. In emergency mode, officers should always stop at red lights and stop signs and clear the intersection before proceeding. Officers should always slow as they approach a green light intersection and clear those as well.
In high traffic areas: Driving at high speeds is safer with less traffic around. When responding to an emergency at high speeds, officers should try to select a route with less traffic.
The Bottom Line
Some think using lights and siren makes it appropriate to exceed the speed limit. Nothing could be more false, and doing so often causes terrible tragedies. Ultimately, speeding is the leading cause of collisions, and improving your arrival time by a few seconds or minutes is simply not worth risking your safety and the safety of your community.