You’re driving down the road when you hear the sound of a siren and you see the flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror - it’s every driver’s nightmare. As much as it may feel like it would be a good time to step on the gas and go all Fast and Furious, what you actually need to do is the following:
When you realize that an officer is following you and wants you to pull over, there should be no hesitation on your part to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Make sure that where you stop there is enough space for an officer to safely stand beside you. If there is no such place nearby, turn on your hazard lights so that the officers know you are not ignoring them.
Police officers are very alert when they are pulling people over. So it is important to show that you are not a threat. Turn on the lights in your car. If you are listening to loud music, you should probably bring it down a notch. Sit still and try not to look like you are concealing anything even if it is a stack of pizzas you were really looking forward to getting home and eating.
Make sure you roll down your window so that they know you are willing to be seen and talked to. It is not a good idea to get out of your car if they have not asked you to do so. You should try to cooperate but don’t overdo anything.
Keep your hands visible. Best location? On your steering wheel. If the police officer asks you to hand your license over or any other documents, tell them you are doing so before going to retrieve it. It might seem silly but it is the best thing to do. Once they acknowledge that they know what you are reaching for, you can get the documents. Put your hands back on the wheel when you hand it over.
Be polite. You really do not want to annoy the officer that just pulled you over, even if you think your driving skills are exceptional. Sometimes you get pulled over because there is something wrong with your car and they are trying to help you, even if this is not the case, answer all their questions with simple, clear answers. Try not to give excuses or be too much of a wise-guy or a know-it-all.
If the officer demands that you step out of the vehicle, comply with instructions. Police officers do have the legal right to search you. However, it is your legal right to choose to say nothing and not answer questions. If you get arrested you have the right to a lawyer. Be sure not to become violent or resist arrest, as an officer can use that against you in court.
Getting stopped by police officers can be an intimidating experience. If it happens to you, remain calm and remember to follow all the tips in this article.
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