In the event of a traffic stop, both you and the police officer want a smooth and safe encounter. It’s important to stay calm and keep these tips in mind to prevent the situation from escalating. Here’s what to do when pulled over:
Safely pull over. When you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror pull off to the side of the road or shoulder of the highway in the safest and most efficient manner possible. Once pulled over, turn your ignition off and place your hands on your steering wheel so they are visible to the police officer. This lets the officer know you are not a threat and they can see your hands at all times.
Turn off the music. If you have music or other audio playing, turn it off. When speaking with the police officer, you don’t want to be talking over the music, and the police officer won’t want any distractions.
Obey the police officer’s instructions. It’s important to keep in mind that when a police officer gives instructions, there’s a reason behind it. If they ask you to step out of the car, show your license and registration or any other request, you should comply. If there’s a red flag in the police officer’s request and you feel that it’s inappropriate or violates your rights, you can ask them about it.
Be respectful. While you may be frustrated, nervous or angry about being pulled over, keep in mind that the police officer has authority. Show respect through your body language and your verbal communication. Talking back, swearing, or showing anger in any way will not help the situation. Politely ask questions, but be sure you are cooperative and respectful.
Being pulled over is a headache that no one wants to have. But when it happens, it’s important to have a set of criteria in place. Use these tips to put you and the police officer at ease and resolve the issue peacefully and safely.