Pc Andrew Bramma, 32, a married father-of-two, had been reacting to reports of a road accident when the crash happened in North Yorkshire.
He was the only person in the car and was pronounced dead at the scene in the village of West Tanfield, near Ripon, at around 7pm yesterday.
Today North Yorkshire Police Temporary Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: “This is terrible and tragic news and the thoughts of everyone at North Yorkshire Police are with the officer’s family at this sad and very difficult time.
“I just sense he was someone who wanted to be here and wanted to be part of our team.
“He extolled the virtues of what we are looking for in North Yorkshire Police, he cared about the community, he wanted to do his job and protect people and he did it for the very best reasons.
“He was a man of integrity and he was popular with his colleagues and as Chief Constable I cannot ask for more of a young officer.”
He said messages of condolence had been sent from other forces across the country.
Pc Bramma had only transferred four months ago to North Yorkshire from Greater Manchester Police, where he had served since 2008.
Mike Stubbs, of North Yorkshire Police Federation said: “Today we are mourning a member of our police family, who was killed making his way to an incident to help a member of the public.
“Andrew had quickly established himself as a well-liked and respected officer amongst his colleagues in North Yorkshire who are distraught at his death.
“Most tragically, he leaves behind a young family who are devastated by last night’s events. We are working very closely with the chief officer team to support them.”
Officers are appealing to anyone who witnessed the collision or saw a police van travelling between Ripon police station and the scene of the incident, to contact them with information.