How To Handle Yourself During a Traffic Stop
If you’ve never been stopped by the police while driving, odds are pretty good you will. Just the thought of seeing flashing blue and red lights in the rearview mirror is enough to make some people’s palms sweat. While, certainly, traffic stops can go off the rails, most are relatively uneventful. What should you do when you see those flashing lights behind you?
Pull Over to the Right Side of the Road
Put on your right blinker or flashers to acknowledge you see the officers’ lights, slow down and pull off to a safe place on the right side of the road. If it is at night, turn on your interior lights. Day or night, make sure your hands are kept in sight. Stay in your vehicle unless directed otherwise. Stay buckled in. Be Polite.
There are few benefits to being combative or having an “attitude” towards a police officer who stops you on the road. If you feel you are being ticketed unfairly, take the issue to court, rather than debating with the officer on the side of the road.
How Do You Answer “Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?”
Among other things, a police officer serves as the main witness for the prosecution in a traffic stop. If you answer yes to his/her question and elaborate that you were speeding or rolled through a stop sign, you may be admitting guilt. You shouldn’t admit to knowing why a police officer pulled you over. You may even be admitting to something he or she didn’t witness. It can sometimes be beneficial to initiate the conversation by asking, “Is there a reason you stopped me, officer?”
Overall, don’t speak until spoken to, avoid arguing, and don’t volunteer information. Stay calm and remember, this is just a citation, not a jury decision. You will have time to decide if and when you want to fight the ticket in court.
Fighting a ticket can be worth it if the citation may result in a license suspension or the resulting points may put you close to that status. If you are generally a safe driver with few or no points, the more practical and less expensive course may be to simply pay the ticket.
Citations can also cost you in higher auto insurance premiums. Whether you have a troubled driving record or a spotless one, we can help ensure you are not overpaying for car insurance. Contact one of our independent agents to search our network of insurance companies to get competitive quotes. We look forward to assisting you.