The Car Coach: What to do and what not to do when pulled over
When a police officer turns on their lights behind you, it may not be for speeding, but here are some dos and do nots that you do need to know.
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If you see those lights behind you, the best thing to do is pull over in a safe and lighted area as quickly as possible. This shows that you have proper respect for emergency vehicles' right of way, and doesn't necessarily signal to the officer that you're admitting guilt.
·Don’t pull over on the left as it may obstruct traffic, and pulling over too close to a guardrail may make it difficult for the officer to safely approach your car. Both are mistakes that won't win favor.
·Don’t get out of the vehicle unless you are directed.
·Don’t give the officer “a piece of your mind” and ask why he or she didn't pull over those “other” speeding motorists. Always be respectful. Over-reaction and/or lack of cooperation will complicate the situation.
·Don’t start to argue with the officer, unless you’re hoping for a ticket and a court date in your future. Remember that police officers’ actions and communications are not intended to offend you.
·Do know where your paperwork is located. Normally, a police officer will ask for your license, registration, and insurance. Try to have this easily accessible in your glove box but don’t reach for it until asked.
·Do verbally inform the officer if a weapon is present in the vehicle. Without moving, tell him or her its exact location and state whether you possess a concealed handgun permit.
·Do turn on your dome or interior light at night - this is for the safety of both you and the officer.
·Do always keep your hands in plain sight and refrain from sudden movements.
·Do roll down the driver’s side window all the way.
·Do stay in the car. Use common sense and don't put the officer in an uncomfortable situation. Police are trained to remain in a position that will enhance officer safety.
·If you think you’re lined up for a speeding ticket, you can ask to see the police officer's radar-gun calibration records. Just ask nicely.
Stay calm, even if you're upset about being stopped. Remember, you may have been pulled over for a variety of reasons other than speeding: your car may fit the description of a suspect’s, you may be in the vicinity of a crime scene, or you may appear to need roadside assistance. Let the officer speak first. The old adage that you get more bees with honey will help here; be kind and respectful and you may have a chance of being sent on your way without a ticket. Cooperation can also greatly reduce the time you are detained.