There’s not a worse feeling while driving than turning around to find you’re being pulled over. Not only is it nerve-wracking, but it typically results in a hefty fine and a potential threat toward your license, sometimes worse. As recent studies have shown, sometimes interacting with police can be unexpectedly dangerous. To help ease your mind during your next traffic encounter, we’ve compiled a list of what to do if you’re pulled over by police. As you know, this won’t magically save you from a ticket, but it could help.
- Don’t let passengers interject – Unless an officer asks one of your passengers a specific question, the dialogue should remain between you and the cop. Save the snarky cop comments for after you’ve gone your separate ways.
- Use your turn signal to indicate you’re pulling over – Don’t make life harder for yourself. You’re already being pulled over for a moving violation of some sort, there’s no need to tack on anything else. Use your signal and begin changing lanes as traffic slows down. You can refer to proper lane usage by clicking here.
- Stay in your car – Unless you’re told otherwise, always remain in your vehicle. If you need to get out, the officer will ask you to do so.
- Turn the music down – “Act normal” when you get pulled over… unless you’re blasting N.W.A., chances are when that cop walks up to your window, they’re going to be really annoyed and immediately ask you to turn it down. This sets the tone for the rest of your conversation, and it’s really not the tone for trying to get out of a ticket.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel – Pulling people over is one of the more dangerous job responsibilities for an officer. Do them a favor by placing your hands somewhere that they can see them. If you get asked to do anything, do it and then return your hands to the wheel. Plus.. it gives you something to hold on to while you’re shaking in your seat.
- Pull back into traffic cautiously – There’s no real protocol for who needs to pull away first. But before you hit the road, make sure you have your license, registration and any citations put away to avoid distractions as you use your turn signal to re-enter traffic.
- Relax! This cannot be stressed enough. Remaining calm is the #1 way to ensure a smooth encounter upon being pulled over. Getting agitated, hostile or nervous are all ways to arouse suspicion, which could get you searched or possibly jailed. Just remember, traffic stops are a routine occurrence!