What should I do if I get pulled over? How you can make it easier on yourself, and Law Enforcement?
You’re cruising along the highway, humming along to your favorite song, and thinking about your weekend plans. No, this isn’t the start of a sweet country song – next thing you know you spot those blue and red lights in your rearview mirror. ***T, are you getting pulled over?
Even if you are the most cautious driver, being pulled over is inevitable. Sometimes, you might get pulled over for something simple, like a brake light being out or even for leaving your gas tank open. Just because you are being pulled over, does not necessarily mean you did anything wrong. What are some simple steps you can take to make a traffic stop easier for both yourself and the Law Enforcement Officer doing his job?
So, what should you do if you get pulled over?
When you first see those flashing lights and hear the police sirens, do not panic. The Police Officer might not even be pulling over your car. Move over to the right shoulder, and pull off the road immediately. Turn on your flashers if you need to find a safe place to pull off. If you are not getting pulled over, that Police Officer has somewhere much more important to be.
Pull over completely and immediately
Make sure that when you pull over, your car is safely off the road. Give the Patrol Officer the space to be able to walk up to your window. Roughly 150 Police Officers are killed during routine traffic stops every year (The Joplin Globe). You have the safety of your car, whereas the Law Enforcement Officer is taking a risk just to speak with you. At L-Tron, we work to create technology that limits the time a Police Officer has to stand on the curb, allowing him to get back on patrol faster. The 4910LR DL Reader allows Officers to quickly scan Driver’s Licenses and input civilian information into their system.
Create a safe environment for yourself and the Officer
When a Law Enforcement Officer approaches a vehicle, he has no idea what to expect inside. Make his job a little bit easier by creating a safe environment within your car.
This might include the following;
Turn off the radio.
Roll down the driver’s side window.
Spit out any gum (be respectful).
Put both hands on the steering wheel where an Officer can see them.
Turn on the interior lights of the car – especially if it is dark outside.
Try to have your license and registration readily available. However, do not going rummaging around for them in your wallet or glovebox until you are asked for them.
Be honest with the Officer.
The Patrol Officer who pulls you over is simply doing his job – trying to keep you and those around you, safe. Answer the Officers questions honestly, and speak clearly. Make eye contact and be kind. Follow the directions of the Police Officer, but do not get out of the car unless you are asked to. If you are carrying a gun or weapon, let the Officer know that it is in the vehicle.
A sincere apology can go a long way! If you have legitimately done something wrong, apologize to the Officer. You do not have to say anything incriminating if you plan on fighting a ticket – a simple “I’m sorry” will do.
Be considerate and pull away slowly
Once the traffic stop is over, give the Police Officer time to return to his vehicle. Get your license, registration and paperwork in order. When you are relaxed and ready, put on your blinker and pull away from the curb slowly. Oftentimes, the Officer will wave you ahead and allow you to pull off first. Be aware of your speed and surroundings as you exit the traffic stop.
Remember – Police Officers are only trying to do their job (keeping you safe) when they pull you over. Be kind and courteous. No traffic stop is “routine” and Officers encounter different circumstances every single time they pull someone over.
About the Author:
Julianne Pangal is a proud “Edu-Techie” at the L-Tron Corporation. Along with assisting the marketing team and creating content, you might catch Julianne at any of our Law Enforcement conferences or tradeshows. She loves connecting with customers and meeting new people. When she’s not working or traveling for L-Tron, Julianne enjoys riding horses, running and finding balance in the yoga studio. She also loves to give back to the local Rochester community. Email Julianne.Pangal@L-Tron.com with any questions!