If you’re like me, then from time to time you’ve been known to exceed the speed limit by a few miles or so. Maybe you’re in a hurry and you didn’t take the time to come to a complete stop at that stop sign – maybe you didn’t even see the stop sign! In any case, a violation of the rules of the road might see you in hot pursuit by flashing blue and red lights. In these situations, there are certain protocol that should be followed to ensure the safety of you and your passengers, as well as the officer in charge. Here are a few tips should you ever find yourself being pulled over while driving.
1. Slow down and turn your turn signal on to get to the closest and safest place to stop, whether this is on the right shoulder of the road or highway, or in the closest parking lot. You’ll want to pull over as quickly as possible, but more so in a safe and calm manner.
2. After you have pulled over, make sure you turn off your radio and your car engine. Roll down your window and place your hands on the steering wheel. Police officers are killed making routing traffic stops on a daily basis, so anything you can do to assuage their heightened alertness and portray that you are cooperating in a calm manner is key.
3. Don’t go rummaging through your purse or wallet until the officer gets to your car door. This may indicate you are looking to hide something or possibly reaching for a weapon.
4. When the officer gets to your door, the first thing they will probably ask is to see your license and registration, and possible insurance. Most of these things should be kept in your car or on your person.
5. In most cases, anything you say to an officer may later be used against you in court. An officer may hand you a ticket, and in most cases signing it is not an admission of guilt, just a promise to pay the fine or show up in court. Most of the time, the correct response to a police officer is, “No,sir” or “Yes,sir.”
6. The police normally cannot search your car unless they find probable cause … but this can be anything they deem suspicious from a weird smell to an object in plain view. Don’t give them any reason to further detain you, follow the steps above!
There are a few instances when extra precaution may be used when getting pulled over. If you are alone on a dark highway or side road, it is within your rights to continue driving until you find a well-lit or more populated area. You may also ask that an officer identify himself/herself if getting pulled over by an unmarked or strange vehicle with flashing lights. Getting pulled over certainly is no fun, but following these precautions can save you a lot of grief!