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Driving Safely Through a Protest

A protest is a way for civilians to express objection or disapproval regarding laws they believe to be unjust or unconstitutional. These crowds usually consist of men and women of all ages who are advocates of certain issues. Most of these crowds are peaceful, but larger crowds can be harder to maneuver, especially if the atmosphere ever gets heated.

When approaching a protest, your immediate response should always be to reroute as the ultimate safety measure. However, if there isn’t another route for you to take, and you do not see a police officer nearby to redirect you (always ask a law enforcement official for help if you see one), here are a few tips for proceeding safely.

Skip Main Roads

If you’re aware of an event or protest, avoid taking the main roads. Instead, take back roads or another route with less traffic. Also, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination—rushing during your commute and getting stopped by a crowd can be upsetting. If you approach a protest unknowingly, try to turn around before you get too close.

Remain Calm

Road rage, a common occurrence among drivers, is a form of aggressive driving that can be very dangerous for everyone on the road. If you begin to get upset, try to avoid cursing mentally or verbally, speeding, or making rude gestures. This just internalizes your anger and could cause you to lose focus and prevent you from getting to your destination or even cause damage or injury.

Put on Emergency Blinkers

Putting on your emergency blinkers lets crowds know you are trying to maneuver in a tight space. Crowds will often stand back and give you room to pass—if not, avoid hitting or running over anyone. Even if someone is blocking your vehicle, try to drive around them with caution or alert them that you’re moving.

Keep Tapping the Brake

Don’t accelerate and risk striking anyone. Instead of accelerating or stopping completely, slow down. You’ll want to drive slow enough for people to get out of the way while you continue to drive. The goal is for everyone to make it out safe and unharmed.

Honk Your Horn

As you continue to drive, honk your horn. Crowds can get noisy and a little chaotic regarding pedestrian traffic. Tap your horn and continue to move slowly around the people. This is a way to clearly warn any individuals they are in the way.

Stay Safe

If you’re greeted by angry participants, lock your doors, keep your seat belt on, and continue driving slowly. If you have a dash cam or anything with video capability, begin filming so you have a record of the event. Stay buckled in with your windows rolled up or cracked. Having your window rolled down a ¼ of an inch may make them stronger under pressure. If you or anyone is injured, call 911 to report the incident to avoid further injury or getting charged for a hit and run.

This can be a scary situation for new and even veteran drivers, and while it’s best to avoid driving near or through a protest altogether, if you have no choice but to drive through a crowd in the street or near one, follow these safety tips and always look for a police officer for help navigating through the crowd.

Think you or someone you know is in need of Behind the Wheel Training? Training Wheels is an Atlantic City driving school specializing in teaching new teen drivers how to stay safe on the road. For more information on our lessons, please click here.

Copyright: dotshock / 123RF Stock Photo