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Thread: Should you ever try running from a cop?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Should you ever try running from a cop?


    Is fleeing from a traffic cop ever a good option?

    It's a massive violation of politically correct orthodoxy to even suggest it, but sometimes, a calculated gamble can be worth the risk.

    But the risks are huge - including a possible felony charge(s) and all that comes with that. Be fully aware of the risks you are running - and only run when the chances of getting away with it are in your favor. And the costs of just pulling over guaranteed to be severe.

    For example, anytime you are driving faster than 90 mph, you face a sure-bet "reckless driving" charge. That will mean a mandatory court appearance and, if convicted, the possible suspension of your license. Even if that doesn't happen, a "reckless driving" conviction on your DMV record will cause your insurance to skyrocket for years - or be cancelled outright. .

    Over 100 and it's likely you'll be going to jail. Plus the "reckless" charge. If you run - and get away with it - you've just saved yourself a peck of trouble. Admittedly, you've risked even more trouble by fleeing. But the payoff is mighty tempting.

    That covers the "why."

    How about the "when"?

    And the answer is - only when you are very sure you will be able to get out of the cop's sight and completely disappear within the next five minutes. If you are even a little bit unsure, pull over and deal with it. But if you think you have a shot, then it's time to think about exploiting your window - before it closes.

    For example, let's say you encounter a cop coming toward you from the other side of a highway/road with a median divider of some kind. It will take him at least a minute or so to slow down, cross the divider, turn his vehicle around and come after you.

    That "lag time" is your window.

    If you know the area well - and even better, are close enough to home (or a place you can hide for at least an hour or more) stand on the gas and get out of the cop's visual range ASAP. Take a side road - ideally, not the first one you see (the cop will assume you took the first turn).

    Once you're out of visual range, your objective is to disappear.

    If the cop loses sight of you - you've already almost won. Put time and distance between you and him. Within minutes, the outcome will be determined. If, after another five minutes or so, you see no sign of the cop - it's a good bet you're free and clear. Get home, get the car out of sight. If home's too far away, find another side road and sit there quietly for at least an hour. Three or four's better - just to be sure. Then slip away quietly using different roads than the ones where the chase began.

    In rural areas, external factors are usually more in your favor. You can disappear down country roads, take a turn-off and lay low. Tthere are usually no video cameras or news helicopters to worry about. It's a good bet it' s just you and that one cop. In a city/suburban environment, the stakes are much higher - and it's much more dangerous. There are more cops - and it's severely irresponsible to make a high-speed run in the midst of heavy traffic. It's one thing to risk your own hide out in the boonies, trying to escape Roscoe. In the 'burbs, you might get some innocent bystander killed. Don't go there. It's not worth it.

    Bottom line: The decision to rabbit should not be made lightly. If you doubt your nerve - or the factors aren't heavily stacked in your favor - don't do it. You might end up like an extra in "Oz."

    Not too appealing.

    Losing that license doesn't seem so bad in comparison.

    END

  2. #2
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Failure to stop for the police is silly at best. On second thought, it's not silly but effing dumb.

    If you think you've been spotted, there is nothing wrong with slowing down and trying to blend in with traffic but an effort to run away is not wise in the best of circumstances.


  3. #3
    MikeHalloran
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    You can't outrun a Motorola ... or a Hornady.


  4. #4
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    I did it once, about 30 years ago. Some friends and I were taking a field trip to the southwest corner of the state. Before we got out of town I got flagged by some cops who were running an assembly-line speed trap operation. At that time, our city's cross-town expressway was still under construction, but sections of it were open. At the eastern limit of the open expressway, it ended abruptly and funnelled traffic onto a surface street. That was the spot where the cops set their trap. I saw a motorcycle, a cop with a hand-held radar gun, and another cop who would step out into the street to flag down the victims. They had about four or five cars already stopped, lined up for processing, when I got flagged, and I was doing at least 30 over the limit. I saw that neither cop was within striking distance of the motorcycle, and there was a convenient escape path across the street from where they were pulling people over, so I slowed to fake them into thinking I was stopping, then instead of turning right to stop I floored it through the left turn down the escape path, where I was able to take a zigzag route and quickly get out of their line of sight. I never saw any evidence of a pursuit vehicle, they were probably content to just keep lining up the easy targets and take a loss on me. But I wasted no time getting to the highway and getting us out of town for the day. The passengers were dying with laughter.

    I don't know that I'd ever try that again, I was worried for weeks that The Phone Call would come.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    Failure to stop for the police is silly at best. On second thought, it's not silly but effing dumb.

    If you think you've been spotted, there is nothing wrong with slowing down and trying to blend in with traffic but an effort to run away is not wise in the best of circumstances.

    It's only effing dumb if you get caught!

    But as I said, think hard before you decide to rabbit...

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHalloran
    You can't outrun a Motorola ... or a Hornady.

    True - but out in the Sticks a radio doesn't do all that much good.... just as Bo and Luke!

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    I did it once, about 30 years ago. Some friends and I were taking a field trip to the southwest corner of the state. Before we got out of town I got flagged by some cops who were running an assembly-line speed trap operation. At that time, our city's cross-town expressway was still under construction, but sections of it were open. At the eastern limit of the open expressway, it ended abruptly and funnelled traffic onto a surface street. That was the spot where the cops set their trap. I saw a motorcycle, a cop with a hand-held radar gun, and another cop who would step out into the street to flag down the victims. They had about four or five cars already stopped, lined up for processing, when I got flagged, and I was doing at least 30 over the limit. I saw that neither cop was within striking distance of the motorcycle, and there was a convenient escape path across the street from where they were pulling people over, so I slowed to fake them into thinking I was stopping, then instead of turning right to stop I floored it through the left turn down the escape path, where I was able to take a zigzag route and quickly get out of their line of sight. I never saw any evidence of a pursuit vehicle, they were probably content to just keep lining up the easy targets and take a loss on me. But I wasted no time getting to the highway and getting us out of town for the day. The passengers were dying with laughter.

    I don't know that I'd ever try that again, I was worried for weeks that The Phone Call would come.
    Excellent!

    I have a few stories of a similar nature myself....

  8. #8
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric


    I have a few stories of a similar nature myself....
    The key was that the cops had made at least three strategic errors. First, their location which presented an easy escape path. Secondly, no one was poised for pursuit. Thirdly, they had spread themselves too thin. The situation was easy to take advantage of.

    Oh, I was driving my mom's '74 Vega wagon, one of the ones with fake woodgrain on the sides.

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric


    I have a few stories of a similar nature myself....
    The key was that the cops had made at least three strategic errors. First, their location which presented an easy escape path. Secondly, no one was poised for pursuit. Thirdly, they had spread themselves too thin. The situation was easy to take advantage of.

    Oh, I was driving my mom's '74 Vega wagon, one of the ones with fake woodgrain on the sides.
    Exactly... you "got the drop" on them. That's the key... .

    Here's another, similar tale (some specifics changed to protect those involved!):

    My wife and I decided to go out to a restaurant one day; the route we took was a lightly-traveled, rural secondary road with a posted limit of 55 mph. We came upon another vehicle doing about that speed; as I tend to drive faster, I passed this vehicle (legally, in a passing zone - albeit doing more than the posted maximum).

    For whatever reason, the driver of the other vehicle was aggravated that I passed him - and sped up considerably to "catch me" (I have no clue what he intended). By this time, I was cruising along at around 80-something mph. I looked up in my mirror and noticed the other vehicle closing rapidly. About this time, the road curved gradually. As we entered this gradual bend, the other vehicle had caught up and was right on top of me. I do not like being harassed - and my usual strategy is to put some distance between myself and the tailgating car. So I'm doing around 80-5 mph with the other vehicle attempting to match my speed when all of a sudden a state cop appears coming the opposite direction.

    We both zoomed by the cop - who braked hard and was clearly looking for an opportunity to get turned around to pursue us.

    At this point, I made a judgment call.

    The road turned again - and we were out of visual "line of sight." Three possible turn-offs were immediately ahead. The driver of the other vehicle - clearly freaking out - took the first right. I took the second - and hammered it. We disappeared. I never saw the cop again - and we hustled home by circuitous backroads. Hid the car out of sight - and that was that, chief.

    I found out later the driver of the other vehicle did get nabbed - though I don't know what he was actually written up for.

    But we got away free and clean!

  10. #10
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    How did you find out that the other driver got nabbed?

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    How did you find out that the other driver got nabbed?
    Through my underworld contacts, of course!

  12. #12
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Tonight I avoided apprehension again. After work, I drove home, taking a leisurely pace through the scenic route. When I got home I realized that I had left my laptop computer in my booth, so I turned around and drove back taking the more direct, expedient route which includes a section of our cross-town expressway, Interstate 630. I was doing about 95 in a 60 when I passed a cop car sitting on the shoulder. As I whizzed past his headlights came on and I saw him pull out. I was within striking distance of the first of two exits that will take me to my place of work, so I floored it, exited the Interstate and took a zigzag path through the surface streets until I got to work. I was turning right onto the first street at the end of the exit when I saw the cop car turning off the highway onto the exit, but he didn't have his blue lights on. That was the last time I looked back, my job was to become invisible as quickly as possible.

    After retreiving my computer, I thought it prudent to chill out at work for a few minutes before venturing back out. When I left, I took the most northerly of several possible paths back home.

    Oh, and now I know what the anti-lock brakes on the VW feel like...

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Tonight I avoided apprehension again. After work, I drove home, taking a leisurely pace through the scenic route. When I got home I realized that I had left my laptop computer in my booth, so I turned around and drove back taking the more direct, expedient route which includes a section of our cross-town expressway, Interstate 630. I was doing about 95 in a 60 when I passed a cop car sitting on the shoulder. As I whizzed past his headlights came on and I saw him pull out. I was within striking distance of the first of two exits that will take me to my place of work, so I floored it, exited the Interstate and took a zigzag path through the surface streets until I got to work. I was turning right onto the first street at the end of the exit when I saw the cop car turning off the highway onto the exit, but he didn't have his blue lights on. That was the last time I looked back, my job was to become invisible as quickly as possible.

    After retreiving my computer, I thought it prudent to chill out at work for a few minutes before venturing back out. When I left, I took the most northerly of several possible paths back home.

    Oh, and now I know what the anti-lock brakes on the VW feel like...
    Excellent - and congratulations!

    Feels great, doesn't it? The combination of fear, purpose and (if it turns out well) elation. I do feel bad though, for the next guy that gets pulled over by the cop you lost!

  14. #14
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Is fleeing from a traffic cop ever a good option?

    It's a massive violation of politically correct orthodoxy to even suggest it, but sometimes, a calculated gamble can be worth the risk.
    I've never had the kind of luck that would let me do that, but I have had the opportunity to let someone else take the fall for me.

    I was leaving Raleigh for Charlotte on US-64, doing about 15 over in the Jetta GLX, when a bright purple Mitsubishi Eclipse passed me. Over the hill comes a sheriff's car who immediately applied brakes and turned on his blue lights. Keep in mind that we're both speeding -- I was doing 70 or so in a 55, and the Eclipse was 75+. I downshifted (but did not apply my brakes). The Eclipse ran for it.

    I watched the driver of the Eclipse take a hard right and park in back of a muffler shop. A few moments later the cop comes back over the hill, and starts looking for the Eclipse, totally ignoring me. ;D

    This was when I truly learned that it pays to have a fast car that lets you travel incognito if driven judiciously.
    White four-door VW (albeit with a very nice VR6 motor) vs. flashy two-door sporty car in a bright color means that the lower-profile car gets ignored.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?


    "This was when I truly learned that it pays to have a fast car that lets you travel incognito if driven judiciously.
    White four-door VW (albeit with a very nice VR6 motor) vs. flashy two-door sporty car in a bright color means that the lower-profile car gets ignored."

    Driving as many new cars (of all types) as I do, I became aware of this many years ago. I am much more comfortable running fast in something like your VW than a Viper - or bright red anything, for that matter!

  16. #16
    DonTom
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?


    "Is fleeing from a traffic cop ever a good option?"

    On Court TV ("most dangerous police chases") , I saw what happened to several motorcycle riders who thought it was a good idea. They were wrong. Some were dead wrong.

    However, they didn't mention what percentage get away.

    -Don-

  17. #17
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom

    "Is fleeing from a traffic cop ever a good option?"

    On Court TV ("most dangerous police chases") , I saw what happened to several motorcycle riders who thought it was a good idea. They were wrong. Some were dead wrong.

    However, they didn't mention what percentage get away.

    -Don-
    You think they're going to show a successful evasion on a cop show?

  18. #18
    DonTom
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    "You think they're going to show a successful evasion on a cop show?"

    IIRC, they did show one once. But when they get away, it usually isn't as interesting as watching them slam into a cement truck at 140 MPH!

    -Don-

  19. #19
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom

    "Is fleeing from a traffic cop ever a good option?"

    On Court TV ("most dangerous police chases") , I saw what happened to several motorcycle riders who thought it was a good idea. They were wrong. Some were dead wrong.

    However, they didn't mention what percentage get away.

    -Don-
    No question it is very risky; that said, a good rider on a fast bike has a huge advantage over a cop in a car. My neighbor's a state cop; he says he doesn't even bother to turn around sometimes...!

  20. #20
    mrblanche
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    Re: Should you ever try running from a cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    No question it is very risky; that said, a good rider on a fast bike has a huge advantage over a cop in a car. My neighbor's a state cop; he says he doesn't even bother to turn around sometimes...!
    Why bother? The odds are that anyone who rides over 100 mph anywhere he's likely to be seen by other cars will eventually become a statistic, and he won't usually take anyone else with him. Darwin wins again.

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