In the wake of several recent law enforcement deaths caused by other drivers, the Automobile Club of Southern California is urging motorists to move over a lane and slow down when they see emergency personnel, law enforcement and highway workers on the side of the road.
Today, California Highway Patrol officers paid their respects at Our Lady of the Angels cathedral to a fellow officer who died last week of injuries suffered when he was struck by a car while writing a traffic citation on I-405. Since May, five CHP officers have been killed in highway crashes and since the year began, 64 officers have been killed in the line of duty.
California law requires drivers to slow down and move over when possible in the presence of emergency, law enforcement or other workers in or near a roadway or highway. The law took effect in 2007.
The Auto Club offers the following safe driving tips for freeway driving and traffic stops:
- While driving, look ahead to make sure you’re alert to changing traffic and road conditions such as road work, congestion, traffic stops, and road debris.
- Engage in safe driving behavior—slowing down and moving over— when observing flashing lights of emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
- Do not be distracted and look at incidents in or near the roadway. This adds to congestion and increases the potential for additional incidents.
- Always signal at least five seconds before changing lanes. Look carefully and check your mirrors and look over your shoulder in the direction of the lane change.
- Be aware of motorcycles. Motorcycles often become hidden in vehicle blind spots or difficult to see because of their smaller size.
- If signaled to pull over by law enforcement, look for the nearest safe place to position your vehicle on the right side of the road where the shoulder is widest.
- Keep your safety belt fastened and make sure passengers remain in their safety belts.
- Roll down your window and/or your passenger side window completely so you and the officer can speak to each other. (In California, a CHP officer will approach your vehicle from the passenger side for their safety.)