We’ve all seen the dreaded lights flashing in the rear view mirror and felt momentarily panicked. The idea of being pulled over by a police officer is never welcomed, but it is important to know how to respond if it does happen. Police officers are on our roads and highways for our protection, so consider their point of view if you do get pulled over. In this article, Tip 1 advises you to pull over as soon as possible, Tip 2 recommends keeping your hands in clear sight, Tip 3 suggests asking the officer why you were pulled over, Tip 4 advises you to know your rights, and Tip 5 explains why you should always be respectful.
Tip 1 of 5: Pull over as soon as possible
When the police officer has signaled to you, either with the use of a siren or flashing lights, you have to pull over to the right side of the road as soon as possible.
Aim to pull over as far to the right as possible to leave room for the officer to approach. Once you have stopped, put your car in park and turn off the ignition.
Tip 2 of 5: Keep your hands where they can be seen
Before the police officer approaches, it is best to sit and wait with your hands in plain view. It is not necessary to grab your license and registration until the police officer asks for it directly. Reaching for anything prior to the officer coming to your window can make them feel unsafe or uncomfortable, so it is always best to wait for their instruction first.
Tip 3 of 5: Ask why you were pulled over
You might feel intimidated, but it is within reason ask why you were pulled over if you don’t already know. Officers might explicitly state the reason, but if they don’t then you are still entitled to know.
When the officer has given you the reason, you are free to share your thoughts in a calm and respectful way. You want the officer to know that you are attempting to be cooperative, but it is still fair to share your side of what happened.
Tip 4 of 5: Know your rights
While you are required to turn over your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information, you are not required to answer any further questions. You are legally allowed to exercise your right to silence and contact a lawyer.
In addition, probable cause is required for police officers to search your vehicle, meaning that they need to have specific evidence linking you to illegal activity. Without probable cause, police officers are not allowed to search your vehicle. If a search begins without your consent, you can politely inform them that you do not consent to the search.
Tip 5 of 5: Always be respectful
Remember that a police officer is just doing their job when they pull you over. Always be respectful and remember that they are also a human being. Police officers have a difficult line of work, and it is always good to consider their point of view before you react too strongly.
If you are issued a ticket for a traffic violation, don’t try to argue with the officer on the scene. A dispute will not have a positive result, so you would be better off fighting the ticket in court. Stay calm and don’t escalate the situation. Tickets can reflect negatively on your car insurance bill, so always practice safe driving and avoid speeding.