Tie a Yellow Ribbon
When winter weather turned bad suddenly I would often find my shift was a busy one, driving from vehicle to vehicle in the ditch at the side of the road. Of course, we were obligated to check collisions and insure that no one was hurt but in this situation manpower often did not match the number of incidents reported. The situation was made worse by repeated reports of the same vehicle with a different description and location.
I've often wished that people would stop and check before they grabbed their cell phones and reported a crashed vehicle. If the situation was serious the appropriate support could be arranged, and if the vehicle was empty and no one was around we could assign a lower priority and check on others first.
However, we had to be thankful for a drive by report with no further details when it was not a simple abandoned stuck vehicle. There must be a better way!
In fact, someone has come up with one and it involves yellow plastic survey tape. Once police, fire, ambulance or road maintenance workers have checked a vehicle and found that it is abandoned and no aid is needed beyond a tow truck they will flag it as having been checked with the tape. It will be tied to the mirror or antenna on the side of the vehicle closest to the highway.
So, if you come across a vehicle in the ditch on the side of the highway, please be alert for this bright yellow tape. If it is present and attached to the vehicle there is no need to notify police. Someone has already been there and we don't need to visit again.
If it isn't, please stop and check if it is safe to do so as someone may need your help.