See caution tape on an abandoned vehicle? It's not an emergency

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MICHIGAN (WJRT) (11/16/2018) - If you see yellow caution tape hanging from a disabled car's antenna or seen tied from side mirror to side mirror across the hood of the car, police say there's no need to worry.

Any vehicle along the road with caution tape tied to it should not be considered an emergency, police say.

Michigan State Police Lt. Dave Kaiser explained that's a universal symbol to all first responders that the car has been checked and everyone is out and safe.

"What this does is it allows us to move on down the road and check the next vehicle, where maybe there is somebody that needs some help," he said. "Maybe when they got into the snow bank, their vehicle became disabled and it's not running, so they have no heat."

Kaiser said the "unwritten protocol" helps make their work more efficient, especially as the number of calls increase during bad winter weather.

Because that heavy snow or drifting snow could quickly cover up the previous officer's footprints, it prevents yet another officer from having to check the same vehicle.

Anyone who sees that caution tape should also take note that there's no need to call 911, because an officer has already checked on the disabled vehicle.

Anyone who gets stuck in a ditch because after a slide off or spin on slick roads should remain in their vehicle until a police officer or emergency worker comes to check, Kaiser said.

"Leave your headlights on, flip your four-way flashers on," he said. "Even with the snow, the heavy snow, the four-way flashers will catch somebody's attention. We recommend you stay in the vehicle, stay seat-belted. It's the safest place you can be when you're out there in those conditions."

Kaiser also reminded drivers to move over and slow down for wreckers and other emergency vehicles along the road. Michigan law requires drivers to move over a lane if possible and reduce speed to 10 mph below the speed limit.

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