A cop car crash. A police vehicle accident. Call it whatever you want... just remember, it's a reality, and it's one of the biggest dangers that you will face on the job.
It may not be the first thing that pops into your head when you think about dangerous situations, but it truly is.
Officers spend lots of time driving on the road, whether it is just patrolling or going to calls.
Now, as you all know, there are many poor drivers out there. Many drivers just don't pay attention to what they are doing. They're too busy adjusting their radio, putting on makeup, eating, texting or talking on their phone, hell I stopped a guy one time who was playing on a damn playstation portable!
As an officer, you can be the best driver in the world, but just one moron on the road can spell disaster.
Imagine driving code 3 to an emergency call. You will have your lights going and the wailer sounding. You're paying attention to the road conditions, vehicular traffic, pedestrian traffic, all while listening to updates that dispatch is giving to you on the air.
You're forming a basic plan in your head as to how you're going to approach the scene.
How close should I pull up without putting myself in the middle of the danger? Should I wait for backup before I head in? Should I pull the shotgun or not? What was the description of that guy?
Basically, you're multitasking like a hooker with a crack cocaine problem.
And while driving to the scene, WHAM! Some moron who has his stereo on too loud doesn't hear you and he pulls out of a gas station driveway without looking. He caves in the side of your car! You've just been involved in a cop car crash!
Now, is it always the other guy's fault? No. I'd be lying if I said the accidents are always the fault of others. But the point I'm trying to make is that any little lapse in concentration whether from the officer or the other driver can result in a cop car crash, and have dire consequences.
This could easily happen even when you're not driving code 3. The point is that accidents on the road happen all the time, and sometimes you can prevent them, but sometimes, for whatever reason, you cannot.
You don't necessarily have to be driving either. You could have a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road for a traffic stop. You could be speaking to the occupant when a car comes by just a little too closely...
It's actually documented that drunk drivers are actually attracted to lights (especially flashing lights). If you stop a vehicle at night and leave your roof lights on, it can act like a light does when attracting a moth.
Generally, when you drive a car, you go where you look. Race car drivers don't stare down at the asphalt to where they are going, they look INTO the turn to where they want to go. Where you look is where your car goes.
The same principle applies to drunks. They will stare at the flashing roof light and due to their drunken state, end up causing a cop car crash by driving where they are looking- right into the back of your cruiser. It truly sucks...and it can be deadly.
Thats why it's recommended that you never stand in between your cruiser and the vehicle that you have just stopped.
If your cruiser is hit from behind by a drunk or some other idiot, it will move forward crushing you between your car and the one in front of you.
The following video is pretty insane. It was captured on a cruiser's dashboard camera when the officer was doing a traffic stop.
This other cop probably saved this woman's life...