Nothing can ruin your day faster than seeing flashing blue lights pull up behind you.
You go through a range of emotions starting at disbelief (Is he pulling me over?) to shock (You can't be serious?) to denial (I wasn't doing anything wrong) to despair (This sucks) to anger (I'm fighting this with my traffic attorney) all in the time it takes you to pull to the side of the road and hand over your license.
All of those emotions are perfectly normal, but what many people are confused about is what to do when stopped by police. Because when the police pull you over, there is a certain protocol you should follow to ensure your safety and that of the officer.
Running out of your car screaming, "It wasn't me, didn't you see the other guy!" generally isn't recommended. In fact, sudden movements are generally a big no-no, especially at night when there is less visibility.
What's important to keep in mind is that the more comfortable you appear and you make the police officer feel the more likely you may get a reduced ticket, or no ticket at all.
Here's a short list to teach you what to do when you are stopped by the police.
- Slowly and safely pull over to the side of the road.
- Stay in your vehicle unless instructed to get out.
- Don't make any sudden movements. Keep your hands in plain sight.
- If you have any weapons in the car, it's always better for the officer to hear it now, instead of discovering it after the car's been searched.
- Don't unbuckle your seat belt. If you need to unbuckle it or move to get something out of the car, ask permission. (If you unbuckle it too early, you may get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt)
- Last, and this is up to you, you may want to consider turning on your cell phone camera to record everything. I'm not sure what good it would serve, but if the officer testifies in court that you had a bad attitude, this may be used as evidence to the contrary.
Always remember to be polite and respectful. It never hurts and you just might find yourself getting lucky and not getting a ticket after all.