Originally Posted by Tog
As for dazzle lights, they're awful on an unlit highway.I think those studies are on to something. I wouldn't be surprised if the lights are a draw for most people except without cognitive impairment you resist it. I'm not sure the dazzles make officers safer out there.Clearly one needs good lights, but something else. What about people driving by who are epilectic? Have they tested it with them?
There has to be a better way. Blinding people doesn't help one avoid y'all and make you safer.
I'd agree with that, but the visible warning gives the non-impaired (the clear majority of drivers, BTW) ample time to plan and react accordingly, even if part of that reaction is countering the "dazzle effect." That's especially true on roadways where the volume of traffic and speeds are both high...like freeways and highways. It may not seem like it, but the use of them in these environments does outweigh the potential hazard with most motorists.
You gotta remember that the task of stopping motorists alongside busy roadways and approaching their vehicle is inherently hazardous. Emergency lighting and vehicle positioning only mitigates the hazard, but it certainly doesn't eliminate it. It's about weighing risks and adopting an approach that is least risky, not without any risk. Folks at NIJ, IACP, and the like are always looking for ways to improve officer safety and public safety in this and many other areas, so if someone has a better way of skinning this cat, they could make a mint on consulting fees.
As volume of traffic and speeds lessen, however, the value of overhead emergency lighting becomes more questionable. That's why it's not uncommon anymore to see police vehicles on side streets...especially residential streets...with only their directional spotlights and forward facing "take-down" lights illuminated. The multi-colored overheads are often turned off. That's just not safe on the highway, though...or I should say it's the least safe of the available lighting options.
Oh, when you see police vehicles parked straight-on behind a violator's vehicle, that's a tactical positioning error, but it's also one of the most common ones. As to the positioning, the offset is minor, only enough to provide about an 18" gap from the front-left corner of the police vehicle to the back-left side of the violator's vehicle. Someone that's a better mathematician than I am (pretty much anyone) can figure out how many degrees offset that is...5, 10? On the street, it's done purely by eye-balling it.