How To Act When You Get Pulled Over By Police

Jim Luff
Posted on January 26, 2015
Getting pulled over by the police is always a nerve rattling experience. Here are some tips that can help make the encounter a little smoother.
  • As soon as you see the lights behind you, look for a safe place to pull over. Do not slam on your brakes causing a cruiser or motorcycle to take evasive action to avoid hitting you.
  • Don't stop in a location that is likely to cause an accident. Wave to the officer to acknowledge you see him/her and pull off the roadway as soon as safely possible.
  • Wait inside the car for the officer to approach. NEVER jump out of the car. It will startle an officer and cause him to take a protective position. Keep your hands on the steering wheel except to turn on your interior light at night time. The officer will appreciate that.
  • Never reach for anything in the car under your seat, in the glove box or your back pocket. Wait for the officer to tell you what documents he would like to see and then explain where that document is located and that you are going to reach for it. Reaching for something as the officer is approaching could also look like you are hiding something causing your stop time to be lengthened and possibly detained while your vehicle is searched.
  • Present your license, registration and insurance card to the officer if asked. If asked to step out of the car, do not be aggressive, even if you are angry. Maintain your cool at all times.
  • Never argue with the officer. If you disagree, you will have your day in court. It is the officer's job to write the ticket. He is not the judge or jury. You will have your day in court to explain your position.
  • Once the encounter is complete, you may be rattled. Take a moment to collect yourself and then safely merge back into traffic.

Related Topics: chauffeur behavior, chauffeur training, driver behavior, driving, Jim Luff, Shop Talk blog

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Tony

     | about 3 years ago

    As a retired LEO, the easiest way to present yourself when stopped is; 1. pull over to a safe area, if you are on a freeway, turn your hazards on to acknowledge you are aware the officer is stopping you, and drive to a safe area, or exit the freeway to find one. 2. If you are driving a vehicle with tinted windows, lower all windows so the officer can observe the interior. If it is night time, turn on the interior lights. 3. Turn off the ignition, place the keys on the dash, then place your hands on the steering wheel. 4. when the officer approaches you, be respectful, as he will be toward you, and answer his questions. 5. when asked for your DL, Reg and POI, if the documents are not readily at hand, inform the officer where you have to get them from, and ask to do it. All of the above will go a long way to putting the officer at ease, and may even have you driving away with just a warning. 6. if you do get cited, be respectful. The side of the road is not the place to argue your case, that is what courtrooms are for. 7. Remember, many officers are wearing body cams, and almost all have a digital voice recorder in their shirt pocket. And no, there is no expectation of privacy in public. Follow the above, and it will lead to a civil encounter.

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