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Cold weather means disabled vehicles

In addition to the seasonal precipitation hazards, many don’t prep their vehicles for cold weather, which can lead to more problems as winter settles in

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol.

Today’s Tip is for all my public safety friends. With winter weather upon us, we know we have cold spells that will affect how our vehicles work. And with the mobile society we have today, that affects how we do the job.

For law enforcement, fire, and EMS, this means being prepared for disabled vehicles. With everyone in a hurry these days, motorists often fail to properly prepare their vehicles for cold weather. Many of you have seen drivers trying to look though snow- or frost-covered windshields they didn’t fully clear. Drivers fail to check their oil, anti-freeze, and tire pressure. Don’t forget about folks who need to replace a battery or fail to conduct routine maintenance before cold weather hits. All this results in breakdowns, flat tires, or worse, collisions.

Knowing this, we need to be ready. Be sure you have road flares or LED traffic lights to alert other motorists of disabled vehicles. Check that your vehicle’s emergency lighting works. And if you are out of the car or apparatus, wear your reflective vest so you can be seen. Cold weather can also mean icy roads. So, position your vehicle for optimal sight distance and to allow for additional reaction time and protection at the scene.

You should also know what towing services are available and how to contact them, even after hours. Make sure you have an ice scraper. Clear frost or ice that develops on your windshield or help someone else who doesn’t have one. And for my law enforcement friends, take some extra time on those cold days to patrol the streets in your area and look for stranded motorists. This may not be the most glamorous part of your job. But you’ll be a hero to the person stuck on the side of the road in the freezing cold. Most of all, stay safe and do your part to protect the motoring public.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.