Police Stop 101
The moment you see the red and blue flashing lights in your rear-view mirror.
- Turn on your hazard lights. This tells the officer that you acknowledge you’re being pulled over.
- If you can’t locate your flasher lights under pressure, put your blinker.
- Wait for police officer’s instructions.
It’s important that you pull over somewhere safe. If you are not sure that the vehicle performing the traffic stop is a police car, you should drive slowly and carefully, below the speed limit, to a well-lighted and populated location. You may contact 9-1-1 and remain on the line until the officer’s identity is verified.
If you feel unsafe for any reason after you pull over, ask the officer if you can relocate. You don’t want to keep driving and have the officer think you’re ignoring him or trying to “make a run for it.”
Once you’ve pulled your vehicle over, roll down your window and turn off your car. If it’s dark, you should also put on your dome light. Don’t do anything else at this time, as moving around or reaching for things could potentially look threatening to the officer.
Simply turn off your car and put your hands on your steering wheel, and wait for the officer to come to your window. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that it happens to virtually everyone at some point.
Getting pulled over is not the end of the world. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that it happens to virtually everyone at some point.
The more calm, cool, and collected you are, the smoother your interaction with the police officer will go.
Whether you believe you did something wrong or not, it’s important to be civil when speaking with a police officer. Keep your answers short and simple and remain calm and courteous.
Did you do something wrong? Apologize!
Police officers are people too, and sometimes acknowledging your wrongdoing and saying, “I’m sorry!” can go a long way. If the officer knows you realize your error and are remorseful, they may let you off with a warning.
Provide license, registration, and proof of insurance, tell the officer where it is before reaching for it. Always remember, traffic stops are extremely dangerous for police officers.
They’re often met with hostile and angry drivers, and gestures that might seem harmless to you can look like a threat in the eyes of an officer. When they ask for your license and registration, tell them exactly where these documents are located and where you’re going to be reaching. Tell them, for example, “My license is in my bag in the backseat, and my registration is in my glove box,” before you move to grab anything.
If you end are given a ticket, the police officer will make you sign it before letting you go. If you plan on contesting it in court, don’t worry—signing it doesn’t mean you agree with the ticket. It is simply an acknowledgement that you were pulled over and received the citation.
When merging back into traffic, be extremely careful! You might be flustered, angry, or upset after being pulled over. Take a few calming breaths and use caution when getting back onto the road.
Don’t let your heightened emotions lead to a bigger problem! When returning to the road, be sure you turn on your signal when getting back on the road.