In spite of what some people might say, there is still some good advice kicking around on the internet; I’m not talking about home wort removal techniques or a guide on how to teach your cat yoga poses. What we found is something everyone getting behind the wheel of a vehicle should know, and is a topic that aught to be reviewed by new and seasoned drivers alike:
What do you do when you get pulled over by a police officer?
Personally, I have never been pulled over OR been given a ticket, so reading some of the advice posted on various websites was somewhat enlightening, and I now feel a little bit more prepared for the eventuality of seeing the red and blue lights in my rearview mirror. Below you’ll find a compilation of some the best advice we stumbled upon.
1. When you see flashing lights, pull over as soon as you can (when it is safe to do so)
As you’re pulling over, consider the safety of the police officer. Pull over as far as you can so that the officer can safely approach your vehicle without having to worry about oncoming vehicles. Turn off your engine. Remember that police officers have no idea what to expect when approaching you – as far as they’re concerned you could be anyone. Begin your exchange by putting the mind of the officer a little bit at ease by turning off your engine.
2. Roll down your window ALL the way
Ever notice when someone gets pulled over in a TV show or in a movie, they only roll down their window part of the way? Police officers don’t like speaking to you behind glass as though you were a bank teller in the 1930’s. For one thing, it makes it look like you’ve got something to hide, that you’re trying to keep her from seeing something.
3. Shed some light
Your vehicle can be a confined, dark space and a police officer may be understandably wary of approaching your vehicle if the interior is not easily visible. And honestly, you can’t blame them; they’re concerned about their own safety as much as they are about the safety of others. If the sun has started to go down or has not quite come up, turn on your overhead interior light. This allows the officer to see who is in your car or truck before getting to your door.
4. With the engine off (and overhead light on if applicable) keep your hands on the wheel
Ten and two may not be your preferred method for handling your wheel, but make it your default position should you ever get pulled over. Once your hands are on the wheel, keep them on the wheel. Do not attempt to get anything for the officer yet, they want to see your hands. Don’t fidget in your seat, or look around too much. For all you know, the officer only pulled you over to let you know you have a burned out taillight and let you be on your way.Remain calm, cool, and collected.
5. Admit to nothing
Expect the question, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Confessing what you did (if you did in fact notice it) is no guarantee that you’ll be let off with a warning, so it’s better to just say you don’t know.
6. Explain your movements
It might sound silly, but if the officer does ask to see your license, registration, and proof of insurance, tell them where it is located and what you need to do to get it for them. If you have to unbuckle your seatbealt to reach the glovebox, tell them so. If your wallet is in your purse or knapsack in the backseat, let them know you need to reach back there to get it.
7. If you get a ticket, don’t complain or get angry at the officer, be respectful
At this point, doing anything other than saying “Thank you, Officer” will only serve to make the encounter last longer. Chances are you were heading somewhere in particular before the officer pulled you over, and logic dictates that you still have a destination you’d like to get to. Take your ticket, signal your intention to return to the road and be on your way. You can contest the ticket at a later time if you want to, but being a jerk to the officer that wrote it won’t help your case.