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Leave a car-length space in front of your squad

Officer Michelle Hertling — whose incident with a dog was described in detail in Chuck Remsberg’s book, Blood Lessons — recently saved her own life while off duty with a simple tip given to her by her Field Training Officer several years ago. Stopped due to road construction late at night, a drunk driver struck her from behind at an estimated 70 mph. She had left a car length distance between her vehicle and the one stopped in front of her.

North Carolina State University Police Officer Larry Jones tells PoliceOne, “Michelle and I are ‘RAD’ Rape Aggression Defense instructors for women. In the class we teach women to always ‘Check 6’ — to look behind them for additional threats whenever they perceive danger to the front. While she was sitting in the traffic she was checking behind her when she noticed the headlights of the drunk driver approaching. She had left the car length distance between her vehicle and the one in front of her so she turned the steering wheel to the left to attempt to get out of the way. Before she could do that, the car hit her from behind knocking her unconscious. Fortunately, her vehicle was shoved to the left off the road missing the vehicle in front of her. She said that her trunk ended up about 4 inches behind her back. Had she pulled her vehicle up close to the bumper to the one in front of her it is almost certain that she would have been killed.”

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