Strangers Who Attempt To Flag You Down

This is a discussion on Strangers Who Attempt To Flag You Down within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I would call the non-emergency number...with a vehicle description and number of people observed....

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  1. #16
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    I would call the non-emergency number...with a vehicle description and number of people observed.
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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Bullseye View Post
    There is NEVER a reason not to call 911 if there is someone trying to flag down vehicles.
    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    I would call the non-emergency number...with a vehicle description and number of people observed.
    I agree with SIGguy. In many (if not most) places, it is a crime to call 911 for anything other than an immediate emergency. Calling about a stranded motorist could easily bring about a charge of "misuse of emergency services" or something similar.

    Most LEAs have a non-emergency number. Program those numbers into your phone for occasions like this.

    I have called the OSP Northern Command Center Dispatch numerous times about stranded motorists.

  4. #18
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Not to be a cold fish, but it would have to be a hell of an incident before I let people into my car.

    I'm just not the trusting type...or the type that really cares. I belive really strongly is FIDO.

    The last 2 words to that acronym are "Drive On."

    That said, during my pilgrimage to the holy-land (I was headed to a rifle class at Tactical Response in Camden, TN - something everyone should do at least once in life...as to the holy-land...well. With the amount of ammo expended at that range every year, lets just say, it's got a whole lot of holes in the earth...) in February of 2010, during the worst snow storm the south-central USA had in a while, I saw a spun out car with 2 teenagers standing beside it looking dazed, freezing in the snow.

    Apparently, blankets and spare winter clothing are not in everyone car in the South. Who knew?

    I threw them in the back seat (squished in between the bag of my clothing and the cooler of food), tossed a blanket on them, called 911 and aranged for a a sheriff to hand them off to.

    I'm cold, but not inflexible.

    For someone not standing beside a car wrapped around a rock in mid calf snow wearing shorts and a T-shirt...you better have a DAM good reason for me to stop and let you into my car.

    Being out of gas, car broken down or what-not...I'll call someone for you.

    Still, for the most part...

    FIDO.
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  5. #19
    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xader View Post
    I agree with SIGguy. In many (if not most) places, it is a crime to call 911 for anything other than an immediate emergency. Calling about a stranded motorist could easily bring about a charge of "misuse of emergency services" or something similar.

    Most LEAs have a non-emergency number. Program those numbers into your phone for occasions like this.

    I have called the OSP Northern Command Center Dispatch numerous times about stranded motorists.
    The question was if someone was trying to flag down vehicles. 911 on that type of call is never considered a misuse of emergency services. Please show me where it states anywhere that it would be. While 911 isn't for getting weather or road conditions, anytime you have a possible motorist in trouble it's not misuse, especially when the disabled motorist is trying to flag someone down.

  6. #20
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  7. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Bullseye View Post
    The question was if someone was trying to flag down vehicles. 911 on that type of call is never considered a misuse of emergency services. Please show me where it states anywhere that it would be. While 911 isn't for getting weather or road conditions, anytime you have a possible motorist in trouble it's not misuse, especially when the disabled motorist is trying to flag someone down.
    I guess this would be on a case by case basis. If they're flagging people down, but they just obviously have a flat, I wouldn't consider use of 911 justifiable. If they're hysterical or apparently injured, that's another story.

    I guess I'm just thinking along the lines of flat tires, out of gas, broke down, etc. I don't feel that those are emergencies, and thus, 911 is not the appropriate number to call.

    It's all in the context, I suppose...

  8. #22
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    Sadly, the days of stopping and giving someone a ride is long gone as far as I'm concerned. And being stranded on the side of the road with no phone or communications sucks big time.

    What I do is simply call 911 on my cell phone and report a stranded motorist who appears to need assistance. It's as simple as that. I can go on about my business and have piece of mind that the police will go check it out. I've done this many times and never had a bad outcome.

    One time, I did see a woman late at night walking down the road about 100 yards from her abandoned car in the rain. I had to turn around but I did go back and tell her that although I can't give her a ride, I did call 911 for her and she should go back to her car, lock the doors and wait until the police arrive. She actually thanked me and understood not giving her a ride. (I also had my gun in my hand and shoved down out of sight between the seat and center console.)
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  9. #23
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    I'm not stopping unless it is obviously a bad wreck...and then it depends. If someone tries to flag me down, I'm moving along and calling for help.

    My car broke down late one night on the side of the interstate. I was by myself in the middle of nowhere out of state. I called a wrecker and it was going to be a couple hours before he could get there. My car was under an overpass. I was unarmed (pre-permit, but I OCd in my home state).

    I thought about all that could happen and I decided to not wait in my car but way up under the overpass where no one could see me but I could see my car. I also called 911 and told them it was not an emergency, but wanted someone to know who I was, where I was (I noted the last mile marker I passed) and what was going on just in case something happened. She said, "No problem, I'll send a patrolman by to check on you in a little bit." Sure enough, about 30 minutes later a patrolman stopped by, he looked at my car (my antique Herbie VW), and we waited in his car for a little bit until the wrecker showed up. Super nice guy. He told me it was a very good idea to have a record of who I was, where I was, and the time I called and what was going on. He also said it was a good idea to be out of sight while waiting. I may not hae had my firearm with me at the time, I tried to use a few smarts to compensate. If my cell phone had been out of range or dead battery, I'd have waited until an officer came to sticker my car...however long that may have been. There's no way I'd flag someone down late at night on the interstate...no telling what you'd get.
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  10. #24
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    The last time I stopped to help, was around 13-14 years ago, wife, me and our 3 small kids at the time, on our way up to West Branch Mi.

    It was January, 1 degree or so, and this guy in his teens ran out of gas about 3 miles E of the Capac Exit on I-69.
    We stopped, told him to get in our Suburban, and we gave him a ride to the gas station, and back to his car, made sure it started, and then got on our way.
    Had my pistol ready just in case, and relaxed a bit, as soon as we realized he was legit; just a teen kid who really broke down on the coldest day of the year.

    Just didn't feel right to pass him by.
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  11. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xader View Post
    I agree with SIGguy. In many (if not most) places, it is a crime to call 911 for anything other than an immediate emergency. Calling about a stranded motorist could easily bring about a charge of "misuse of emergency services" or something similar.

    Most LEAs have a non-emergency number. Program those numbers into your phone for occasions like this.

    I have called the OSP Northern Command Center Dispatch numerous times about stranded motorists.
    I agree with the above except for the highlighted part. Having been on the road and on the end of a 911 line, it's a lot easier to put a stranded motorist call in queue than rolling to a dead body on the side of the road. BTDT

    Having said that, I do have the non-emergency number for the Sheriff's Office. Before I learned the non-emergency number, I never had a problem reporting an incident (including loose livestock on the highway) because they would rather know of a situation before it becomes dangerous. AND the non-emergency number is usually staffed by the emergency call takers, they just prioritize emergency calls. YMMV


    BTW it wasn't so long ago that Mexican gangs would have someone lie in the road and when someone stopped, the whole gang would jump the driver and just jump back across the border before the cops got there. I'm not duty bound to stop anymore. Each scenario is unique, but as a general rule, I'll call for someone but I won't stop anymore. JMO
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  12. #26
    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xader View Post
    I guess this would be on a case by case basis. If they're flagging people down, but they just obviously have a flat, I wouldn't consider use of 911 justifiable. If they're hysterical or apparently injured, that's another story.

    I guess I'm just thinking along the lines of flat tires, out of gas, broke down, etc. I don't feel that those are emergencies, and thus, 911 is not the appropriate number to call.

    It's all in the context, I suppose...
    How can you be sure it's "Just a flat tire" and not a flat tire with a wife in labor in the back seat? As an example, the last time I got flagged down it was a person that saw a car loose control and go off the road into the woods and they didn't have a cell. Just the situation of having someone flagging down cars is a danger in itself that needs to be addressed. Please take a minute and contact your local non emergency number and ask what their view is on a passerby calling 911 to report a stranded motorist or even a not so clear situation. I think you'll be surprised on the answer.

    Don't forget also that jurisdictions change rapidly on the road so 911 will get you connected to the right agency.

  13. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Bullseye View Post
    How can you be sure it's "Just a flat tire" and not a flat tire with a wife in labor in the back seat?
    I didn't say I wouldn't call, just that I probably wouldn't call 911 unless it was an obvious emergency. I'm sorry if this sounds calloused, but the safety of my family comes first, so I'm not going to stop to assess the state of every stranded motorist. That's the job of the responding officers.

    In Oregon, the state police have two large dispatch centers. In one half of the state, you call one number, and another in the other half. This makes it very east to get the correct responders, so jurisdictions are not an issue. I have both numbers in my phone, and use them fairly frequently.

    Quote Originally Posted by NC Bullseye View Post
    Please take a minute and contact your local non emergency number and ask what their view is on a passerby calling 911 to report a stranded motorist or even a not so clear situation. I think you'll be surprised on the answer.
    I actually did just that, which is how I came by the regional command center numbers. The OSP officer I spoke to recommended that those numbers be called for stranded motorists, if not an apparent emergency.

  14. #28
    Member Array Ford's Avatar
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    I have waved someone down, once. I was on a back road in Colorado with my broken down truck hitched to my horse trailer. I also had no cell service, because out there only one carrier has any coverage (which is not my carrier, unfortunately). After a few cars passed a lady stopped for me, and let me use her cell phone. When someone would be coming I'd just raise my hand, and if they wanted to keep going I didn't think anything ill of them. I certainly wouldn't want my wife stopping for any guy.

    Gotta be careful. Sometimes people really are in need, though. I've helped change a few flats, all for single women. Then there was the guy at the grocery store last night. While in the store, I saw this guy in his 50's literally throwing cans of stew into his shopping cart. I had a bad feeling, and thought to myself that if I had to defend myself against anyone in the store, it would probably be him. As I was leaving, he was at the door asking people for a ride because his fan belt broke. I declined.

  15. #29
    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xader View Post
    I didn't say I wouldn't call, just that I probably wouldn't call 911 unless it was an obvious emergency. I'm sorry if this sounds calloused, but the safety of my family comes first, so I'm not going to stop to assess the state of every stranded motorist. That's the job of the responding officers.

    In Oregon, the state police have two large dispatch centers. In one half of the state, you call one number, and another in the other half. This makes it very east to get the correct responders, so jurisdictions are not an issue. I have both numbers in my phone, and use them fairly frequently.



    I actually did just that, which is how I came by the regional command center numbers. The OSP officer I spoke to recommended that those numbers be called for stranded motorists, if not an apparent emergency.
    I apologize, I didn't mean to make it sound calloused if you didn't stop. Not what I was aiming for. I meant that trying to observe, evaluate, and decide when you're at highway speeds isn't always easy and better to error on the side of calling just in case. I for sure didn't mean that you should stop, I highly recommend against it in most cases unless it's just blatantly obvious that you can do some good.

    Thanks for calling and checking, once again, I probably painted in a bit too broad of a brush stroke. For areas that are your local haunts, then by all means use the non emergency numbers if you have them. For times that you're traveling distances and may be out of your normal area of operation, 911 is your best bet to get to the right services faster. As a side note, whether you call 911 or the non emergency number in our local area you will most likely get the same person on the same system, just a different line and it's dispatched in about the same amount of time.

    Once again, didn't mean to make is sound like it did, and thanks for the left coast view!

  16. #30
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    I don't stop. If they look like they really need help, I call the police.
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