Should It Be Illegal for Maine State Police to Shine Headlights Into Oncoming Traffic at Night?
Before I even get into this, let me just clear something up right away before anyone gets any different ideas.
This is in no way an anti-police rant or a "Let's overthrow the government!" rally cry. Not my style and even though you wouldn't think so based on the fact I have a job in the media, I very much like living my life very under the radar.
That said, where this isn't an anti-police rant, it is a question about safety on the roads after something I experienced recently driving down the Maine Turnpike at night, and it involves Maine State Police and their use of headlights.
While I don't remember exactly where I was on the Maine Turnpike, I'm pretty sure I was around the area of the Maine Mall in South Portland while headed south one recent night. And it's not like it was dusk, it was straight-up night time (this has to do with the story, I swear.)
While driving, something off to the right side of the road in the distance caught my attention. Something bright. Really bright. Like, so insanely bright that as I got closer, my eyes starting closing because of the blinding brightness that was being cast into my little poop-brown-colored pupils.
SPOILER: I always drive with my Waze app on since it's a real good heads up on what's going on in the area I'm driving and is a great way to anticipate anything unexpected -- delays, crashes, objects in the road, etc. Big shout to Northern New England Wazers that pass along that info. But I digress.
After noticing the blinding light off to the right, in between squinting and trying to block the light with my hand, I also happened to glare down a bit to lessen the intensity of the glare, and my eye caught my stereo display and sure enough, police were reported by a Wazer in the exact location where the light was coming from.
I totally understand there are times police will be positioned on the side of the road to encourage safe driving or enforce the law against those that violate said law -- that's not the issue. The issue is being positioned facing oncoming traffic with bright headlights (that may or may not have been high beams) doing the opposite of encouraging safe driving.
Maybe there was a specific reason this happened and maybe this was just a one-off situation (to be fair, this situation was the first time I encountered anything like this.) But regardless, if this is a routine practice to deter drivers from speeding or being unsafe on the roads, maybe a second look should be taken.
Blinding motorists who are driving at a high rate of speed in an already dicey section of highway due to various construction projects going on doesn't seem like the best way to encourage and ensure safety on the roadways.