Being followed, and pulled over, by authorities can be a nerve-wracking experience. Between the flashing lights and wailing sirens, it is easy to become distracted. In addition to remaining calm and being safe, here are some important tips to keep in mind when being pulled over.
Stay calm. After you notice the flashing red and white lights, pull safely off the road, engage your hazard lights, turn off your engine, and prepare to roll down your window. Keeping your hands visible on the steering wheel, wait for the agent to approach and provide instruction. Do not panic, remove your seatbelt, or try to get out of the car. Police officers are trying to enforce the law, so it is best to comply and be respectful.
Be polite. As an officer approaches a vehicle, they may be cautious toward the occupants. Not all drivers are calm and courteous when being pulled over. Show the officer you are ready and willing to cooperate, responding after the officer initiates conversation. When asked, hand over your important requested documents (such as license, registration, insurance, etc.). Answer any questions honestly and maintain eye contact. If you are issued a citation, make sure you understand the charges and politely ask the officer to explain any questions you may have.
Be prepared. Whatever you do, don’t put yourself at risk or ignore your intuition. If it is late at night, in an unfamiliar area, or the officer is not in uniform, ask for ID. You can also request to follow the officer to a police station or well-lit area. Don’t argue with officer or the citation. You will have the opportunity to contest charges or file a complaint later.