Traffic stops are always a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you’re not sure why the cop is signaling for you to pull over. The good news is that there are some things you can do to make the entire process go more smoothly.
Don’t Try to Run
Many of us have a strange urge to try to run and evade the police, even when we know we haven’t done anything massively wrong. You need to ignore the urge. Not only will you put yourself in a position where you could cause an accident, but you will also get an even heftier ticket (and possibly be charged with a misdemeanor.) It’s in your best interest to take a deep breath and resign yourself to the fact that you’re getting pulled over.
Getting upset isn’t going to help the situation but staying calm will. The calmer you are as the officer approaches your car, the smoother the traffic stop will go. Not only will you find it easier to understand what the officer is asking you when you’re calm, but you’re also less likely to do or say something that will irritate the officer. Calm drivers are far more likely to be let off with a warning than drivers who are upset and belligerent.
Find a Safe Place to Pull Over
Yes, you want to pull over shortly after the police signal you to stop, but you have the right to do so in a safe place. If possible, pull over into a parking lot or look for a place with a wide shoulder.
Don’t Argue With the Officer
If the officer writes a ticket, but you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, don’t start arguing with the officer. It’s unlikely that the argument will do anything but make the situation worse. If you don’t think the ticket is fair, accept it when the officer hands it to you. Once you’re home, you can arrange to argue your case in front of a judge.
Don’t Over Share
When it comes to talking to the officer, you want to speak as little as possible. Yes, you want to be polite. Yes, you should answer their questions honestly. What you don’t want to do is inadvertently say something that could get you into more trouble. If you have passengers, they should remain quiet unless the officer asks them a direct question.
If you follow these tips, the next time you’re pulled over should be a smooth process.