You see the lights flashing behind you. You hear the sirens blasting loudly in your ear. Your heart starts racing as you realize you’re about to be pulled over by a police officer. What do you do?
If you read our previous blog, then you know what to do. You start by pulling over, promptly and safely, using your turn signal or hazard lights to let the officer know you are aware. Here are some other tips on how to make your encounter with police as painless as possible:
What To Do If You You Get Pulled Over By A Police Officer
- Pull over as far as possible: This way the officer won’t have to worry about being hit by a passing car.
- Put out any lit cigarettes in the vehicle – and throw out chewing gum you have in your mouth before speaking with the officer.
- Roll down your window: This shows the officer you are ready and willing to address the situation.
- Turn on your inside light: Do this if it’s dark outside. You also want to keep your hands on the steering wheel when the officer approaches your vehicle so he or she knows you are not a threat.
- Let the officer know if you have a gun: You are required by law to inform the police officer if you have a firearm in the vehicle.
- Stay in the vehicle: Unless the officer directs you, do not step out of your vehicle.
So now that you have all the “do’s,” what are the “do nots?” Avoid risking your life and your future by avoiding the mistakes below:
What Not To Do If You Get Pulled Over By A Police Officer
- Don’t take the cops on a chase! Running from the police can be charged as a felony offense. That’s in addition to any other traffic or criminal charges officers might face if law enforcement is pulling you over. Don’t try to outrun the police car. Chances are, it is faster than your vehicle — and your legs.
- Don’t pull over in a dangerous location: If at all possible, pull over in a safe, well-lit spot that doesn’t make the officer feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
- Don’t make erratic movements inside the car: Sudden movements, or movements that make it look as if you are trying to hide something (like drugs or firearms) could raise suspicion on the part of the officer.
- Don’t say anything incriminating to the officer: Anything you say can (and probably will) be used against you in court. Never admit to possessing anything illegal in your vehicle, and never speak openly about committing crimes or committing a traffic violation.
- Don’t be hostile toward the officer: Say as little as possible, but remain polite in your responses.
Sometimes, a routine traffic stop leads to an arrest and subsequent criminal charge if illegal activities or substances are discovered, but it doesn’t mean the officer had the right to search your vehicle.