Get a mop and wipe it up!

Police flashing lights make road safety worse

, posted: 4-May-2011 21:41

I'm not anti-Police. Not normally.

But I'd like to know why it is necessary to keep flashing red/blue lights going on a patrol car that has stopped to deal with a motorist on the Harbour Bridge approach, when both cars are completely out of harm's way in the construction zone mostly behind a barrier? What do the Police think that the flashing lights achieve, in that situation?

Allow me to elucidate what signal they send to other road users, travelling home in the dark, rush hour evening:

      •   Police! I must slow down -- even if I am not exceeding the posted speed limit, and there is no danger of hitting any bystanders. (Why?)

      •   Police! I must REALLY slow down, because I need something interesting to say to others in my household, and want to see if I can see any bodies.

      •   Police! Oh no, I'd better slow way down to see if my brother/cousin/uncle/workmate has been caught driving while disqualified. Again.
While this is an unusual case, I'd like the Police to consider their procedures, and ask whether some lateral thinking by the officer involved -- or some direction from the motorway controllers who could see, if they were watching their monitors, the effect on traffic flows in both directions -- might have deduced that switching off the red/blue lights could actually improve the situation.


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Comment by Asmodeus, on 5-May-2011 08:50

Idiot rubber-neckers are more to blame than the police. Sure if you see flashing lights, slow down and be cautious until you pass, but so many people slow right down to stare and gawk like children and they are the real hazard. I just slow to an appropriate speed so I can judge whether there is danger or not and I do not gawk like a slack-jawed moron...

Quite simple really

Comment by corksta, on 5-May-2011 12:52

People (rubber neckers) slow down regardless just to have a look to see what's going on. They'd still do it even if the lights weren't on.

I think blame needs to lie with those drivers - if people didn't slow down to gawk it wouldn't be an issue. Even just a car stopped on the safety shoulder with its hazard lights going and people standing around it with no police present is enough to get drivers to rubber neck.

Comment by bigal_nz, on 6-May-2011 06:41

I have to agree that sometimes I see a Police car pulled over for whatever reason, routine stop or a breakdown (only talking about motorway here) and I do wonder why they keep the Red and Blues on and it just makes everyone slow down.

On the other hand I know that if they get run over or suffer some other misfortune with the lights OFF then ACC or who ever can refuse to pay any compensation since they were not taking all possible precautions.

The same applies to not wearing your glow vest.

So it may be the case they know it causes rubber neckers, they may not want to have the lights on, but need to for beauricratic reasons (ie ACC/OSH).

My 0.02c


Comment by Torque, on 9-May-2011 00:15

Have you contacted Auckland Harbour Bridge Police Station to ask at all?

It's not the fault of Police at all that people want to slow down; it's the fault of the drivers!

I think it's done because Police Policy (I.e General Instructions / Police Manual) stipulate that it be so. Potentially also issues arise under the Land Transport Act if they don't have their flashing lights going, it could be inferred that the 'stop' has finished and the other driver is entitled to move on.

And last but not least, Police (inc. Police Communications) do not operate the Motorway Cameras. NZTA do.

Comment by inane, on 10-May-2011 08:46


rather than assuming everyone is a fool, if you see Red & Blue flashing lights, I slow down, as often I cannot see what the red and blue flashing lights are about.

If it is an accident or somesuch you are required to slow down to 30 KPH as you pass, IIRC

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David White
New Zealand

Goon fan, .NET developer, contrarian seeker of truth