What to Do When You Get Pulled Over:
Updated: Feb 15, 2019
Lights are flashing in your rear-view mirror; you’ve been speeding and a highway patrol officer is driving directly behind you. You hear the sirens. What is the best course of action from this point forward?
The first thing to do is calm down:
Begin slowing down, turn on your hazards and pull over safely to the right side of the road until you make a complete stop. The longer you wait to pull over, the more frustrated the police officer will be. In case an officer has been trailing you, it is possible that he may cite you for something else. An improper lane change or checking your phone are both common mistakes that you can be financially penalized for.
Do not exit the vehicle:
In most cases, a driver exiting his car makes police officers more alert and paranoid because of the danger of the situation. Stay seated, put both hands on the wheel, roll your window down and turn off the engine. If it’s dark outside, make sure to turn on the interior vehicle lights so that the officer can see what’s going on.
Take deep breaths and wait for the officer to approach the car:
Once he comes up to the vehicle, keep your hands on the steering wheel and stay still to the best of your ability. If you do plan on combatting the ticket, keep your answers short and do not directly admit to doing anything wrong.
Simple, minor traffic violations like rolling through a stop sign or going 5 miles over the limit can sometimes be forgiven with a simple apology. If this is the case, it is possible that the police officer can let you off with a warning.
Do not try to expedite the process of getting pulled over by searching for your paperwork, wait for the officer to ask about your documents and begin searching after he asks you for them.
Once the officer actually hands you your citation, sign it:
Signing is not an admission of guilt, it is a promise to either pay the fine or show up to court on the designated date. Lastly, be safe when reentering traffic; turn on your blinker and proceed with your day.