If I got pulled over by the police (and I hope I didn’t just jinx myself), the last thing I would do would be to tell them I teach defensive driving and get a 45 minute lecture. Being a traffic officer is not a job I would wish for. Pulling people over all day long and getting the sour puss or a rotten attitude does not sound like a dream come true for me. That’s a job where no one would ever be glad to see you. I would imagine that those officers never hear “I’m so glad you pulled me over, officer. I needed someone to talk to.” I’d rather be a bill collector. At least you wouldn’t have to deal with those sour pusses face to face.

Things have changed since back in the day when officers would ask you the typical “License and registration, please.” And I learned a long time ago, not to ask him to hold your beer for you while you get it out of your glove box. Do they even call it a glove box anymore? It’s more like a beer cooler now, isn’t it?? Or maybe it’s a gun locker for some. That’s why they don’t want you reaching into your glove box when you get pulled over. They are trained to get real squirrelly when you do stuff like that. So, what to do when you get pulled over by the police? The first thing you need to do so you don’t get a second ticket is to put on your turn signal. Move as far to the right as possible and as quickly as possible. This is for two reasons, so you are as close to the point of the alleged violation as possible and so the officer doesn’t think you are trying to flee. Roll all of your windows down enough where the officer can see into the car. This way, they can see that there are no hidden threats. If it is evening, turn on your interior lights. And don’t forget to cut the engine. Do not get out of your car unless they instruct you to do so. Put both hands on the steering wheel, hands open so they can see that you are not concealing anything in a closed fist. Wait until they ask you for your drivers license before you reach for your purse or your wallet. The officer may scan your registration sticker from inside the car, so he/she may reach inside to do so. They may ask you for your current liability insurance card or they may not if they have already ran a search for that while they were tailing you. So, generally they already know if you have current coverage or not. If they ask you for your insurance card, they may be comparing the address on that with your drivers license address. If they differ, he/she will ask you which address is correct. Because you have only an allotted time to make an address change on your drivers license, you may be issued another ticket for that. Remember, no sudden moves. If you are nervous, try to remain calm and don’t panic. After all, it’s only a routine traffic stop…not the end of the world.

So, if you don’t want to even risk being pulled over by the police, follow these simple rules:
• Don’t speed.
• Don’t talk on the phone or text while driving.
• Do stop at stop signs (for 3 seconds).
• Do stop at a red light before turning right on red (for 3 seconds).
• Don’t do illegal U-turns, even if you don’t see a squad car.
• Do make sure all lights work, brake lights, tail lights and license plate light(s).
• Do keep your registration, insurance and inspections all up to date.
• Don’t tailgate.
• Don’t cut someone off (or make an improper lane change).
• Don’t hang out in the left lane, it’s for passing only.
• Don’t drive too slow for the flow of traffic.
• Don’t squeal your tires.

And, for Pete’s sake, don’t argue with the cop…especially a lady cop…it ain’t gonna work.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Writer / Artist

What To Do – Comedy Defensive Driving