At one time or another, virtually every driver has had to deal with a traffic stop. These stops may be simply minor inconveniences or they may lead to costly traffic citations. Unfortunately, though, traffic stops can be hazardous to your health.
Recently, one traffic stop made national headlines. According to reporting from 9News, the NBC affiliate in Denver, a distracted driver smashed his vehicle into the back of a stopped patrol car at a high rate of speed. Luckily, you can take steps to avoid such a catastrophic collision.
Recognize the risk
In Montana, drivers have a legal obligation either to change lanes or reduce their speeds when approaching stopped emergency vehicles. This legal requirement comes from the inherent risk to patrol officers and other motorists. Consequently, every time you pull over for an officer, you should take note of your surroundings and identify any risks.
Pull into an off-road area
If you are on a highway, you may have little choice but to pull as far into the shoulder as possible. With some luck, though, you may have a parking lot or side street where you can stop. Pulling into an off-road area may automatically decrease your chances of suffering an injury in a high-speed collision.
Turn on your hazard lights
Even though you cannot prevent distracted driving, you can take steps to make your car more visible to approaching motorists. By turning on your hazard lights, drivers have something else they can use to spot your car, truck or SUV.
Despite your best efforts, you may eventually have to deal with a collision during a roadside stop. Ultimately, you may have to seek financial compensation from the driver to help you pay for any damages you sustain.