No question, getting pulled over by the police for speeding or another traffic infraction can be both scary and stressful. Even the best and most careful drivers are occasionally pulled over for things like a burned out taillight. While nothing can prepare you for a traffic stop other than experience, this article will teach you to remain calm in this situation, how to respond to the officer, and what you can expect during your traffic stop.
Knowing what should happen will alleviate your anxiety. This encounter is something that many drivers will experience at some point, so it’s worth your while to consider the “what-ifs” before it happens. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 12 percent of the nation’s drivers have been pulled over. Not panicking and being prepared can make this uncomfortable situation go smoothly.
When you notice a police car’s lights flashing behind you, or you hear a siren blaring, pull over to the side of the road as soon as you can. Ensure you do it in a safe manner in a safe place, where the officer won’t be in danger approaching your car. Make sure to use your turn signals appropriately when changing lanes.
Pulling over quickly not only is cooperative, but you’ll also be close to the spot where the infraction occurred, and facts will be fresher and easier to back up, should you need to refute the claims later in court.
When you are Stopped
If you’ve got the radio on, turn it off and offer the officer your full attention. Turn the car off. If it’s night time, turn the interior light on, so that the officer can see you better. Roll your window down. You don’t have to roll it down all the way, but make sure that you’ve got enough room to pass documents back and forth.
Leave your hands where they are visible, on the steering wheel and don’t move them until you are asked. You will need to produce your license and registration, but it is important that you don’t move to do so until you are asked, for your own safety. Tell the officer where you are getting the documents from (i.e. the glovebox, your purse).
Always stay in your car unless the officer asks you to get out. Not only is it safer for you to stay in the car if you are pulled over to the side of the road, but it can also be viewed as a confrontational move for you to step out of the car without being asked.
First and foremost, be polite. It’s perfectly ok to ask why you’ve been pulled over. Answer questions truthfully, although you are not legally required to answer questions at all. Here is a recent article from Time Magazine that outlines your rights in a traffic stop.
Don’t argue the ticket or the charge. If you disagree, you will have a chance to contest it at a later date, but arguing on the spot may escalate the situation unnecessarily.
Being polite is also the best way to get a warning rather than a ticket. Police are humans and understand that mistakes happen. By having a clean driving record and showing respect to the officer and situation you stand a chance to be warned rather than be written a citation, which is quite ideal.
There is no time like the present to learn about your rights and safety regarding traffic stops. In need of a driving school or driving institute in Littleton? Give us a call today or click here to find out about our autumn driving programs today!