What to Do After Being Pulled Over
By: Good2GoPublished: February 23, 2016
While it’s best not to do anything that could cause you to get pulled over in the first place, it’s what you do after you’ve been pulled over that can make the difference between a more lenient or harsher penalty. And in some cases, your actions immediately after being pulled over can prevent injury to yourself or others.
Signal and pull over
First and foremost, as soon as you see those lights, put on your turn signal and pull over as soon as possible. Don’t wait to pull over for a more convenient spot, pull over immediately and turn off your vehicle.
Turn on interior lights and stay put
Once your vehicle has stopped, turn on your inside lights and have your hands in plain sight. Police officers are understandably very apprehensive about such stops. An interior light is a sign that you know they need to see you clearly.
Have your documents ready
Have your license and registration handy so you don’t need to dig around for them. Digging in a glove box or purse for documents can make officers think you are digging for other things. The faster you access them, the more at ease the officer will be.
Be brief and non-committal
Wait for the officer to speak first, and keep your answers non-committal and brief. Be polite at all times, and refer to the officer as “officer.” He or she will include any answers you make in his/her police report. Additionally, as personal cameras become more standard with police officers, your interaction will be recorded.
Be courteous and respectful. If you made an honest mistake, explain how it happened (e.g., the signs confused me, or I was afraid if I didn’t go through the light I’d block the box). Don’t be confrontational. Don’t be rude.
Being pulled over doesn’t have to end badly if you follow these steps. Understand that the officer is concerned with public safety and if he/she has pulled you over its likely because you did something to endanger it, however unwittingly.
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