Staying Safe on the Road: Proper Protocols When an Officer Pulls You Over
Almost every person will be pulled over by a law-enforcement officer at some point in their lives. These public servants are just doing their job. You can make the experience a simple and uneventful one by following a few tips from the experts. Your safety and well-being should be a priority.
Recognize the Vehicle
A vehicle behind you is indicating that you should pull over. Officers who’re in the business of traffic control should be in a marked vehicle. It should have a police or sheriff emblem on the paint’s exterior surface. Flashing lights and alarms are also part of this scenario. You should follow the officer’s request and pull over.
If the vehicle appears questionable, don’t pull over. Unmarked cars with a portable light placed on the dash or rooftop may not be legitimate. Drive to a local, police department if the vehicle continues to follow you. Real officers are visible enforcers in the field. Unmarked cars might indicate trouble.
Pull Over to a Safe Area
With the vehicle verified in your mind, it’s time to pull over. Look for a parking lot or other area that’s protected from the street’s traffic. Stopping on the street’s shoulder should be your last resort. Both the driver and officer might be in danger from being struck along a busy roadside.
Indicate that you’re looking for a safe place to stop by activating your hazard lights. The officer understands that drivers want to be safe when they pull over. They’ll simply follow you to the chosen area.
Keep Your Hands in Plain Sight
If you have a traffic infringement, remain calm. Officers pull people over every single day. After pulling over, keep your hands on the steering wheel. The officer wants to feel safe as he or she approaches the car. Your visible hands tell the officer that you aren’t grabbing any weapon in the vehicle.
During your exchange with the officer, indicate your intentions as you move around. Tell the officer that you need to open the glove compartment for your registration, for example. This communication relaxes both individuals during the discussion.
Ask for Credentials
To be absolutely sure that the officer is legitimate, you have every right to ask for credentials. The officer should have a badge and identification with him or her at all times. Take a moment to verify the picture with the person standing in front of you. Legitimate officers won’t mind the verification process. Be wary of anyone who seems annoyed by the query. They may have something to hide.
Be Aware of the Infraction
The officer should inform you of the infraction. Remember that forgetting or not knowing that particular law isn’t cause for dismissal. You should know the law of the land. There’s no need to plead your case at this point. The officer will either give you a warning or ticket.
The officer will run your driver’s license and car plates through their system. If you have a clean record, a warning may be the only thing that results from this encounter.
Sign the Papers
If you’re given a ticket, the officer will have you sign the paperwork. Don’t hesitate to sign. You aren’t admitting guilt in this instance. The signature simply means that you understand the infraction being charged to your name. You have a right to an attorney if you want to fight the ticket.
In most cases, a traffic violation results in a fine and potential appearance in a court of law. Be aware, however, that severe infractions can result in an impounding of the car and jail time for the driver. Stay safe on the road by following all of the posted rules. You can avoid a traffic stop entirely by staying within the speed limit and remaining sober behind the wheel.