Monday, November 21, 2011

People afraid to overtake a police car.

The worst kind of driver is one who is afraid to overtake a police car. It's easy to spot them - they're the ones driving at the exact same speed as the police, but slightly behind them thus blocking all the traffic. Worst of all, if the police car is doing less than the speed limit, and everyone is afraid to pass it, then we're stuck with not only a roadblock, but a slow-moving roadblock at that.
Listen: the police aren't going to arrest you for overtaking them. Most cops are pretty reasonable. As long as you're not driving like a total dick, they won't stop you for doing 70mph on a 65mph freeway (in the US), or 80mph on a 70mph motorway (in England). Just get past them and get on with your journey.
It's always a source of amusement to me to do this because I'll end up on completely clear motorway, and in my mirrors I can see four or five lanes of heavy, clogged-up traffic all jostling for position because they're all afraid to pass the one police car on the inside lane.
This leads to another point of contention: when the police have someone stopped at the side of the road, don't slow down and look. Don't slow down because you're afraid they'll do you for speeding. They won't; they're already busy dealing with another driver. They're not looking at you. And you shouldn't be looking at them. You see cops all the time. Concentrate on driving, eyes forward and just keep going. Because once you turn to look, you'll slow down and then you'll cause a phantom traffic jam, which ultimately will result in an accident.


Paul said...

I've disagreed with you a couple of times recently Chris but this time you and I are in complete and utter agreement. I always have a bit of a chuckle after passing a Police car that's driving at just below the limit and, as you mention, I can see the road block getting longer behind me.
And as for the drivers that hit the brakes when they see a cop that's pulled someone over, relax people and keep on moving, nothing to see here.

David said...

Frankly I don't understand the "don't slow down" argument. As someone who's spent non-trivial amounts of time at the sides of roads under all kinds of conditions, I have always been happier to see traffic slow down as they pass me. It's safer for me and those I'm with, even if it delays you by two minutes.

And in some jurisdictions (eg Ontario) it is the law to slow down and move to the left when an emergency vehicle is stopped at the side of the road with its lights on.

I agree with you about passing police cars -- usually I set my cruise at 5-10 km over what the police car is doing, and just ease away from it. Never been stopped.

Mystery Girl said...

My favourite was the police dog handler van on the way to Lakeside you me and Mr Rowlands, all stuck behind that idiot in the ford mondeo who wouldn't overtake. Sad. And also don't slow down to look at the accident on the other carriageway, you'll cause one on your side. The Dutch have it right they tent off the area so that you can't see what's going on. But I agree with Dave, move over a lane when passing emergency vehicles. Actually the yanks are pretty good at that.

Jason said...

Except in Alberta where the mall-cop rejects are hired as Sheriffs and will pull you over for 4 over the limit. He was upset that anyone actually had the nerve to pass a "marked police car". The rest of the cops here with more than two functioning brain cells are generally ok to pass.

Paul said...

@David. I'm talking about the idiots (yes they are idiots) that see flashing lights on the side of the road and don't just take their foot off the gas pedal but actually hit the brakes, some of them slow down to 10 or more mph under the limit. That sort of reaction not only causes everyone else to brake/take avoiding action but it's actually dangerous IMHO.