Lesson 3 of 8
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Police Stop – What Should You Do?

Mel Dowdell June 20, 2020

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1. Turn on Your Hazard Lights

The moment you see the red and blue flashing lights in your rear-view mirror you need to:

  • Slow Down
  • Turn on your hazard lights (This tells the officer that you acknowledge you’re being pulled over)
2. Find a Safe Place to Pull Over

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. This would be below the speed limit, to a well-lit 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.”

3. Roll Down Your Window and Turn Off Your Car

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. It may look suspicious or threatening to the officer if you move around, or reach for something.

4. Place Both Hands on Your Steering Wheel

Turn off the car while waiting for the officer. Put your hands on your steering wheel and stay calm. This happens, even to responsible drivers.

5. Stay Calm!

Getting pulled over is not the end of the world. Listen, follow instruction, and stay calm with a good attitude. This will ensure that you and the officer will have a quick and relatively easy pull over experience.

6. Be Polite & Respectful

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 say or 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.

7. Provide License, Registration and Insurance

Provide your License, Registration, and Proof of Insurance

Let the officer know what you are reaching for and where it is

Keep in mind, traffic stops can be very dangerous for police officers. They’re often met with hostile drivers, and gestures that might seem harmless.  But, these actions could be threatening 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.

8. Sign Your Ticket

If you 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.

9. You Are Free to Go!

When merging back into traffic, be extremely careful! You might be flustered, angry, or upset after being pulled over. So, 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 before merging with traffic.

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

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