The other day we shared some insights that could help you when pulled over by the police. Now it’s time to cover a few of the things you absolutely should not do during a traffic stop. Hopefully you take notes; this could save you a lot of trouble during your next brush with the law.
Once again we spoke to Sgt. Andy Breidenich, public information officer with the Troy, Mich. Police Department. During our chat one of the first things he mentioned involved pulling over promptly. When you see roof-mounted blinkers on your six stop as soon as it’s safe to do so. “Don’t let the officer initiate a pursuit,” he said. They may think you’re trying to evade arrest and that’s really bad, plus you don’t want to end up on the evening news like some two-bit O.J. Simpson.
Beyond this Breidenich said, “Don’t be reaching for a bunch of stuff when the officer is walking up.” Understandably this can be perceived as a threat. They don’t know if you’re merely getting your license and registration out or if you’re un-holstering a Glock. As I wrote before, it’s best to keep your hands on the steering wheel so they’re clearly visible as they walk up.
Another helpful suggestion Breidenich made is not to lie. “One thing cops are really good at is a BS meter,” he said. They deal with strangers on a daily basis and often some pretty unsavory characters at that. After doing police work for a while, they really learn how to read people so make sure not to tell tall tales during traffic stops, plus lying is just plain mean and it’s not “respectful of the law.”
Another policing pet peeve Breidenich mentioned is quarrelsome drivers. “Don’t argue with the officer even if you think you’re right,” he said. There’s a time and a place to share your side of the story; it’s called court, not the shoulder of the highway at 2:00 in the morning. If you’ve been issued a citation accept it and deal with the ticket at a later date.
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But perhaps even more important than these suggestions Breidenich said, “Don’t get out of your car and approach the officer, that’s a big no-no.” Going on he said, “It’s very unusual and very unnerving for a police officer.” Naturally this goes for passengers as well. They should remain seated in the vehicle throughout the stop.
Breidenich also said there should be “only one voice in the car,” so make sure your passengers keep quiet while you’re talking to the officer. Several people yammering over each other at the same time is irritating and makes the officer’s job more difficult, something that will only make them less likely to cut you slack.
Naturally a little common sense goes a long way in these situations. Don’t have loud music blaring even if your ride has a kick-ass sound system, don’t keep talking on your cell phone during the stop and please don’t have illegal substances in your car or on your person. None of these things will do you any favors.
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As always remember the golden rule; treat others the way you’d like to be treated. It works well during traffic stops and life in general. If you cooperate with the police and are not rude, disrespectful or otherwise irritating the officer handling the situation may be willing to let you go with a reduced citation or perhaps just a warning.