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Old 01-20-2012, 12:34 PM   #1
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Default Anyone here think police lights are too bright?

Please understand, this is not a "I hate cops because..." thread, please don't take it there. Its merely an observation, and a question posed to fellow members here.

My dad and I have been having this discussion quite a bit lately.
With the introduction of the "move over" law in NY, and now the expansion of it to include road crews and "amber light" vehicles, its being talked about quite a bit more.

I think there is a point at which police strobes or overhead lights are just too much.
Case in point:
I was driving home a few nights ago, and a state trooper had a car stopped on the side of a hill, going up. The other side of that hill headed into a valley wasn't that far in front of this traffic stop. I saw the strobes nearly a 1/2 mile away from the back. As I approached the stop, I couldn't see anything. I stopped, looking for anyone out in the roadway, trying to see if there was oncoming traffic. I pull out into the opposing lane, and move by, pulling back into my lane as quick as possible, to avoid the traffic approaching the blind hill. I dare think what would have happened if there had been a car coming up the hill on that side. I had to pull off on the next road to regain my full eyesight before driving farther.
This also isn't a bash on the "move over" law, either. I fully support this, and have been doing it since I learned how to drive, long before there was any law.
My dad came up to a checkpoint headed home. Approaching the checkpoint with 2 cruisers with full strobes and lights on. He couldn't see a thing, even some of the officers trying to conduct the check. After passing the checkpoint, he was momentarily in a state of blindness.
Quite a few people I work with, or friends of mine have the same opinion. The lights on the cop cars have evolved to a point of being too intense. I realize that officers have to be seen, and they serve as a warning to motorists ahead to get out of the way. But I think they have gone too far. Every time I see a cruiser with its lights going, I am temporarily blinded. Especially at traffic stop situations, where you slow down as you approach the scene to go around it.
I see it only being a matter of time, with the move over law, where a serious accident occurs as a result of this temporary blinding effect, and a motorist having a head on collision after passing a traffic stop.
I often wonder if anyone has realized that, by adding these "safety measures" in the form of brighter lights, more lights, faster and brighter strobes to warn people of accidents and a police presence, they have a really dangerous side effect to all the drivers around them?

Anyone else agree? Disagree? Want to chime in with their own experiences?
Just curious, cuz I know it can't be just me, my dad, and my small group of friends and co-workers that have an issue with this...
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Old 01-20-2012, 01:08 PM   #2
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I am somewhat a cop (military police) and I agree with your observation. My sqad car in Kuwait was a late model, unmarked Dodge Durango. When I turned on the lights, I would be blinded inside the vehicle. It is a problem, for everyone. After 9/11 law enforcement budgets have had all kinds of extra money, and what you have seen is the unexpected result of some of the excess money. My vehicles prior to 9/11 never had a blind the driver issue.
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Old 01-20-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
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You HAVE to move over on a 2 lane road? Every state I've been in (entire Southern US, and some states in the Midwest) it'* either move over OR slow down if you cannot move over. Also, it only applies on 4 lane + highways, not 2 lane backroads.

I also don't have a problem with the strobes on cruisers, as I don't look at them like an insect flying towards a bug light. The lights I have a problem with are their headlights. Those are freaking bright, especially when they're behind you running your plates.
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Old 01-20-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
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I drive alot at night i usually go to my shop about 9 am and dont leave till usually between midnight and 4 am.So whenever i see these lights i agree i wear glasses(very stong) as my vision is terrible without and also have astigmatism.Sometimes its hard for me to decipher from a distance away what lane they are in so i have to excessivly slow down.But yes i do agree they are excessivly bright with my vision problems aside even before i wore glasses i thought the same.Also i had been taught in mi no matter where you are if an emergency vehicle is approaching pull over or if no room slow down
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sseidriver97 View Post
I drive alot at night i usually go to my shop about 9 am and dont leave till usually between midnight and 4 am.So whenever i see these lights i agree i wear glasses(very stong) as my vision is terrible without and also have astigmatism.Sometimes its hard for me to decipher from a distance away what lane they are in so i have to excessivly slow down.But yes i do agree they are excessivly bright with my vision problems aside even before i wore glasses i thought the same.Also i had been taught in mi no matter where you are if an emergency vehicle is approaching pull over or if no room slow down
Approaching is not the same as on the side of the road.
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Old 01-20-2012, 03:30 PM   #6
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As far as the "move over" law goes, NY has gone after a lot of people, especially tourists (where I work is a tourist town). We don't have multi-lane roads less than 20 miles from here, where I live, or 15 miles from where I work.
The officer had his cruiser partially in the lane I was traveling in, so moving over wasn't even a choice. But, people have been pulled over for not slowing down on 2 lane roads. The language is ambiguous, because it states slowing down to a "reasonable and safe speed". Who determines that exact speed? Me? The officer? The court? People I know, have had to go to court and fight this, after being ticketed for not slowing down "enough". So I move over, there is no grey area if I slow down enough or not..
Plus, back to my original point, if I can't see anything when approaching the cruiser, with lights and strobes on blinding me, how do I know its not an accident, or if the officer is standing by the car, or other people are present? Moving over gets me out of the direct line of the flashing lights where I can see a bit more clear in the opposite lane. I had stopped at first. But, no one was directing traffic, there was no direction from anyone, and I couldn't even tell where the officer was standing. I err on the side of more caution than not. If you come up on a situation like that, and can't see, you can't make a sound judgment on what to do, and the more you slow down, or stop behind the cruiser, the worse the lights affect your vision over time. Which is why my father was really peeved when they had 2 cruisers (one on each side of the road) with full lights going, doing a DWI checkpoint. How you see anything, people...cars...dogs....officers... when those bright lights are in your eyes just makes the situation dangerous. By the time you get through the line, and the officer waves you by, you're blind as a bat!

The move over aka "Ambrose-Searles" law was designed to protect officers. But by having bright lights flashing in your face from the side of a 2 lane road, reducing a driver'* vision, is negating the positive side of getting people to be cautious around emergency vehicles. Its not so much an issue during daylight. The strobes and brighter lights are needed to contrast against the sunlight. But at night, on the same intensity level, they are blinding!
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:10 PM   #7
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I agree with you. Even here, they're using LEDs on all the new cruisers, and I find them very bad on my eyes. I was pulled over one night (random stops) and the car had bright lights.. I had to dim my mirrors, and lean in my seat so I could actually see around me..
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Old 01-21-2012, 04:58 AM   #8
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Completely agree we have all chargers over here and they have 1. Way too many lights and 2. Wayyyy too bright its ridiculous
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:28 AM   #9
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all switch controls for those lights have a momentary switch for you to drop them to low power. however with the new LED lights low power option is pointless given that they take so little to power anyways.

It also depends on where they patrol, such as dark windy roads, heavy in town traffic ( chicago, indy ect) most of the cruisers here in NH have the lightbar on top (marked units) or some interior lights (unmarked) very little extra lighting is put on them aside from head and tail strobes.

one police department here has lights everywhere on their cruisers and it'* in a small town i used to live in that has maybe 1500 people there year round and maybe 20 roads to patrol between 3 cruisers. i'll see if i can dig up a pic of it.

also don't blame all the extra lights on the we attacked ourselves scenerio of 9/11. lighting is detemined buy the cheif of police in that town, city, county, ect
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:36 AM   #10
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I think the main offenders in my area are the troopers. On our town cars, which, actually patrol a huge distance of roads both in town and dark roads in the middle of nowhere, have reasonable lighting. Or, at least they have the ability to turn off the brighter lights at night. I can pass by one of our town patrol cars without a problem. But if you head out of town here, and follow the main 2 lane south, soon you get near where troop C has their barracks. And you can tell immediately that it is one of their cars stopping someone. Same goes for heading out of town east, the way I head to work. The st troopers stop someone with full lights going, bright strobes, no matter if its on the highway or in the middle of town, day or night. Again, I realize the need to be seen. But, having a Tahoe with lightbar on top, headlight and tail strobes, and bright white strobes on either end of the overhead bar are a bit much. That'* exactly what I had to try and pass by the other night. It wasn't a town police, sheriff, constable, etc. It was a trooper doing a stop on a dark 2 lane road, which also happens to be our main roadway in the area going that direction. Anyone within miles could tell something was going on. During a daylight stop, those extra lights may be useful against the sunlight. But at night, when you are driving an unlit 2 lane, and try to get past this barrage of bright lights in your face, its an accident in the making. And having all those lights going at a DWI checkpoint stop? Is that really even needed? If anything, it warns the people 5 miles down the road that something is up, and to turn around if you are guilty of anything.

And wasn't there some study, that found where drunk drivers are actually attracted to police strobes on the side of the road, like moths to a light? I remember reading that somewhere. If so, why put these officers in danger? If a drunk driver is just going to aim for those strobing lights, why put out that bait?

We have already lost more officers in NY, and still have issues with people not moving over far enough. People used to rubberneck when going by an accident or traffic stop. Now they simply can't see where they're going, thanks to these lights. I've seen it on the highway. One person slows down, the people behind them don't see the car in front slow down, and everyone gets blinded by the lights, and you end up with a rear end collision, or 3 car pile up, because no one can see around the cruisers. My dad and I witnessed what appeared to be this exact result, coming back on the interstate from my sisters house in December. From a distance, all you could see was flashing lights. From the farthest over left lane, we could barely make out that there was a cruiser, and one car on the shoulder who had been stopped for whatever reason, and then a second cruiser out in front, with two cars that had hit each other. I dare say the stop resulted in the accident. I can't prove it, but I can see why it would happen.
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