Maybe you’re running late to work for the millionth morning in a row, or maybe your favorite song came on the radio and you lost track of how fast you were going. Maybe you’ve never seen a police officer on that stretch of highway, so you thought you were safe.
Next thing you know, you hear the sirens and see the flashing lights behind you. You’re getting pulled over.
While no one enjoys getting pulled over, there are some simple steps you can take to make the experience a little more pleasant. Read on for our best tips on what to do if you get pulled over.
From the stand point of an officer, routine traffic stops can be the most dangerous part of their job. Stay in the car and keep your hands on the steering wheel, ask for permission to do things like pull your driver’s license out of your wallet or reach for your registration. It’s also a good idea to turn off your engine, have the window rolled down, and your dome lights on if you get pulled over at night. All of these simple actions will help put the officer at ease, knowing that you’re not trying to be threatening towards him or her.
Watch Your Words
If you’re planning on fighting the ticket, be sure to watch your mouth. Anything you say to the officer could be admissible in court, so admitting to speeding or any other traffic misdemeanor can undermine your case. However, if you’re polite, apologetic and sincere, the officer may be more likely to let you off with a warning.
Let the Officer Know If You Have a Firearm in the Car
Even if you have a concealed weapons permit, some states require you to inform a law enforcement officer that you have a weapon on you. Even if this isn’t a requirement in your state, it could save you and the officer a world of trouble if you simply let them know you have it. You should also have all your permits with you. If you choose to exercise your Second Amendment right, you must be a responsible gun owner.
Keep Your Hands At 10 and 2
Once you’ve handed the officer your license and registration and any other documents they may have asked for, you should return your hands to the steering wheel. This keeps them visible to the officer, and continues to let them know that you’re not a threat.
Save It for the Judge
Don’t argue with the officer about your ticket. Save your winning argument for court, in front of a judge. Also, if the officer does issue you a citation, be sure to sign it. This isn’t an admission of guilt; it just means you received the citation and that you promise to either pay the fine or appear in court.
Take a Deep Breath
To avoid any confusion, be sure to ask the officer if you’re free to go after you’ve signed the citation. If they say yes, take a deep breath. Organize your documents and put them back in their proper place. Collect yourself, especially if you’re upset. Then turn on your blinker and safely merge back into traffic.
While getting pulled over isn’t fun for anyone, it also isn’t the end of the world. Know that it happens to everyone at some point. After getting pulled over, be sure to drive the speed limit and obey all other rules of the road, and hopefully it won’t become a regular part of your routine!
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