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How To Avoid Getting Stopped

Mel Dowdell July 4, 2020

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Following are the top 20 reasons you can get pulled over!

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1. Speeding

Go the speed limit—the actual speed limit! Going over the speed limit is not only illegal, but it could also put you in a potentially life-threatening situation. The faster you go, the longer it takes for you to react to a change on the road such as:

  • Flying debris
  • Cars changing lanes
  • Pedestrian stepping into the street
2. Texting While Driving

Texting while driving will get you pulled over! Most states have laws against texting while driving. 

Texting while driving has become a life-threatening norm. This can be especially true to teen drivers who lack experience, and well-developed driving skills. Practicing safe driving by choosing not to text while driving will help you to: 

  • Be more aware of your surroundings while driving 
  • Lower your chances of getting pulled over
  • Be a safe driver who is considerate of myself and others on the road

High school students who frequently text while driving, are more likely to commit other offenses such as: 

  • Not wear a seat belt 
  • Ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. 
  • Get their license suspended and or revoked

The Facts: Any type of cell phone usage while driving can be problematic. If you use Social media, messaging apps, GPS, or music while driving it can draw your attention away from the road 

3. Not Wearing Your Seat Belts - "Click It or Ticket"

Not wearing your seat belts will get the attention of the police. Every state has a primary or secondary seat belt law.    

Primary: Primary seat belt laws allow an officer to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing their seat belt, regardless of whether any other traffic offense is taking place. 

Secondary: Secondary seat belt laws allow an officer to issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when another citable traffic infraction has occurred.  

Laws vary by state. Review your state’s seat belt laws before you decide not to “click it”. 

  • 17 states and the District of Columbia have Primary enforcement 
  • 16 states have a Primary enforcement seat belt laws covering only the front seats 
  • 17 states have campaigns that include supplemental and targeted patrols. They also aim to increase the number of officers on patrol, and citations during their regularly scheduled patrols   

Did You Know? Seat belts save an estimated 15,000 lives annually. 

4. Following Too Close

Like speeding, following the car in front of you too closely can be dangerous. Rear-end collisions account for: 

  • 23% of all vehicle crashes 
  • 2,000 deaths annually 
  • 950,000 injuries annually 

How can you avoid being a part of these statistics? Leave a “safety cushion” of about two seconds between you and the car in front of you. 

5. Not Using Your “blinker”

Not using a turn signal, or “blinker,” could result in a turn signal violation depending on your state. As simple as it may seem to “flick the switch,” drivers neglect to use their turn signals roughly 750 billion times a year! The result? A report by the Society of Automotive Engineers show this neglect causes about 2 million crashes per year in the U.S. alone. Do your best to remember to “flick the switch” when you’re:

  • Changing lanes
  • Turning
  • Entering traffic from a parking space or driveway

Even if it’s not required by law in your state, using your turn signal could help prevent a dangerous car accident. 


Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol may be referenced with different wording depending on your state or jurisdiction. They may be worded as follows: 

  • DUI - driving under the influence
  • OUI - operating under the influence 
  • DWI - driving while intoxicated 

These offenses are serious and should not be taken lightly.  All of these offenses indicate that the individual has been apprehended by a police officer, while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer only needs to have an inclination that an individual might be intoxicated from their behavior. Some of these behaviors may include:    

  • Mild inconsistencies in their driving. 
  • Unusual posture while driving. 

Once the officer stops the individual, they can administer tests to confirm if the individual is legally intoxicated. 

7. Improper Lane Change

The main example of an unsafe lane change is when a driver is veering from one lane to another without signaling. An officer may spot a series of actions by one car, and reach the conclusion that a driver is behaving recklessly. This may be because the driver is: 

  • Changing lanes in an unsafe manor 
  • Improperly Passing other vehicles 
  • Passing on the right 

In order for the officer to issue a ticket for ‘unsafe lane changes’, the driver must have weaved out of their lane and into another lane without taking precautions. 

8. Stop Sign/Stop Light Violation

If your vehicle enters an intersection any time after the signal light has turned red, you have committed a violation. Police Officers have the right to pull you over even if you inadvertently enter the intersection when the signal changes. If this happens while waiting at a light to make a left turn, this is not considered illegally passing a red light. Please note the following information regarding red light violations:   

  • Red-light running is the leading cause of crashes today. 
  • Red-light runners cause hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year
  • In 2018, 846 people were killed in crashes that involved people running red-lights. About half of those killed were pedestrians, bicyclists and other vehicle passengers. 
  • One in three people claim they personally know someone who has been injured or killed in a red-light-running crash 
  • In 2000, there were 106,000 red-light-running crashes that resulted in 89,000 injuries and 1,036 deaths in the U.S. 


Did You Know? Over 55 percent of Americans admit to running red lights. 

9. Drag Racing/Peeling Off

Peeling off will get police attention. Speed competition laws generally cover several types of car and motorcycle racing such as:  

  • Sports car racing
  • Drag racing 
  • Speed contests 

These laws generally cover several types of car and motorcycle racing. These laws typically make it illegal to drive a vehicle on a highway, or other premises open to the public. This is regardless of whether it’s in a race, speed contest, or acceleration contest. Any of the following could be considered “Peeling Off”:

  • squealing or spinning the tires. 
  • rapid acceleration. 
  • swerving or weaving in and out of traffic. 
  • leaving visible tire acceleration marks. 
  • causing unnecessary engine noise. 
  • skidding or sliding upon acceleration or stopping. 
  • causing the vehicle to turn abruptly or sway. 

The penalties vary significantly by state. Depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances of the case these offenses can be infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies. Potential penalties include: 

  • community service
  • driver’s license suspension 
  • Impound vehicle
  • demerit points on the driving record 
  • Completion of a driver’s education course 

For purposes of these laws, street racing doesn’t necessarily have to be side-by-side drag racing. 

10. Expired Registration Sticker

This is an easy one! Having an expired registration sticker is an easy way to get the attention of the police. It is the owner’s responsibility to:   

  • Make sure your temporary plate is visible
  • Get a valid registration sticker
  • Keep vehicle insurance documents in the vehicle 
  • Driver must possess a valid driver’s license

Did You Know? If you do not have insurance, police can quickly tell by running your license plate. 

11. Equipment Violations

Everyone knows the movie scene where a cop smashes a taillight to justify a traffic stop. But in real life, there's little need for that, our experts say. People commit a multitude of code violations all on their own. Leading the list are:

  • Heavily tinted windows
  • Burned-out headlights
  • Broken windshields
  • Expired tags
  • No front license plate (in California and some other states)
  • Loud exhaust modifications
12. Unpaid Traffic Tickets

Racking up lots of unpaid parking or traffic tickets is an easy way to get the attention of the police. It is your responsibility to: 

  • Pay your ticket immediately. Don’t Forget! 
  • Be present for your court date (if not, you may not be able to contest your ticket) 
  • Keep record and receipt of payment in your car 

Did You Know? Unpaid traffic citations can lead to:

  • Late fees
  • Collection agency involvement
  • License suspension 
  • A warrant being issued for your arrest

13. Hazardous Driving

This is a catch-all category for common violations:

  • Improper lane changes
  • Illegal U-turns
  • Failures to yield
  • Unsafe speeds
  • Cruising in the left lane
14. Not Moving Over or Slowing Down for Emergency Vehicles

Many drivers aren't aware that there are laws requiring them to move over or slow down while passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. All 50 states except Washington D.C. have a Move Over law. Not pulling over or slowing down in some states could result in:

  • A costly fine
  • License suspension
  • Possible jail time

This is a serious law as it protects the men and women working alongside our busy, and often dangerous roadways. 

15. Not Completely Stopping at a Stop Sign

Not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign is know as a “California Stop.” No matter where you drive in the United States, you are required to make a complete stop when you come upon a stop sign. Two things make up a complete stop:

  •  No forward movement of your vehicle.
  • Your speedometer reads "0".
16. Not Turning Headlights On When its Raining

Day or night, many states lawfully require drivers to keep their headlights on while their windshield wipers are in use. The rain impairs vision and reduces visibility of all drivers, even in the middle of the day.

Keeping your headlights on both increases visibility for the person driving the vehicle and makes it easier for other vehicles to spot said driver. Remember, headlights work both ways for increasing visibility.

17. Littering

Littering is a crime. Anyone caught littering can be pulled over and ticketed. Convicted litterers can also be ordered to clean up a littered area in a community. Illegally dumping more than 500 pounds is considered a misdemeanor in some states.

Click HERE to see the Litter Law in your state.

18. Changing Lanes in the Middle of An Intersection

Many drivers don’t change lanes while driving in the middle of the intersection because they believe it is against the law. Even though changing lanes mid-intersection can be dangerous, many states don’t consider it illegal. Still, some states like Ohio consider it illegal because other drivers don't anticipate this move when they are an:   

  • Oncoming vehicle making a left
  • A parked car nearby
  • turning right as you switch into their lane

If a witnessing police officer considers the mid-intersection lane change unsafe, you can be cited for it. 

Rule of thumb: Don’t change lanes within a 100 feet of an intersection! 

19. Driving Too Slow

The opposite of a speeding violation is a violation for driving too slow, which can cause a hazard by blocking the flow of traffic. Most commonly, an officer will pull you over if you are driving too slow in the left passing lane.

A slow-moving vehicle should be in the right lane or a lane designated for slow-moving vehicles.

20. Windows Heavily Tinted

The police officer only needs reasonable suspicion of a Vehicle Code violation to pull someone over. To justify an investigatory stop, he only needs to observe that the windows on a vehicle are tinted to a degree that would violate the Vehicle Code. 

Click HERE to view the darkest legal tint percentages in your state. 

Being unaware of violating a law, 

    does not mean you won’t be pulled over. 

Just because you aren’t aware that you are violating a law does not mean you won’t be pulled over.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this course not intended to be consider legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice.