Encounters with law enforcement are rarely fun. It’s one of the most dreadful feelings in the world when red and blue lights fill your rear-view mirror.
However, traffic stops and being pulled over are a fact of life. Maybe you were speeding. Perhaps that last text message you sent was a little too obvious. It could have been that you ran a red light; it’s even possible you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whatever the case may be, you’re about to be detained on the side of the road for the next few minutes … or more.
SEE ALSO: What NOT to do When Pulled Over
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of getting a ticket, one that costs you serious cash and could increase your insurance premiums. Here are 10 topical tips that might help you sidestep a citation.
10. Pull Over Quickly
As soon as you see an officer’s strobes or hear the siren, it’s a good idea to pull over as soon as safely possible. Don’t keep driving for block after block or wait for the next exit ramp to stop. You don’t want the officer to think you’re leading them on some kind of chase, so pull over promptly. Also, if you can make it to a side street or a parking lot, it’s even better. The officer will be safer without having to walk along a heavily trafficked thoroughfare and they’ll be thankful for that.
9. Turn Off the Engine
Unless the temps are hovering in the minus 40-degree range, it’s usually a good idea to shut off your vehicle’s engine during traffic stops. This act of good faith lets the law-enforcement representative involved know you’re not going to try to run. In certain situations, officers will ask you to kill the engine anyway, so be prepared to comply with this request if necessary.
8. Keep Your Hands on the Wheel
Once you’ve pulled over, it’s always prudent to keep your paws on the tiller — or really anywhere in plain sight — so the police officer can see what you’re doing. With clear visibility, they know you’re not reaching for a concealed weapon or trying to stash incriminating evidence. This can go a long way to putting the officer at ease, which can help you get off with a warning instead of extra paperwork.
7. Turn on Interior Lights
Likewise, during nighttime traffic stops, it’s prudent to turn on your vehicle’s interior lights. This gives the officer better visibility and will help them feel a little less stressed because they can see what’s happening. And honestly, would you want to approach a darkened car in the dead of night?
6. Silence is Golden
After promptly pulling over, killing the engine and keeping your hands in plain sight, it’s extremely important to turn off the radio and/or hang up the phone. Failing to do either shows contempt for the officer involved. If you don’t show a little respect for their authority, they’re unlikely to be kind to you. This is common sense, but it actually happens. Don’t be one of those people.
5. Keep ‘em Quiet
Aside from silencing your phone and vehicle’s audio system, it behooves you to tell any passengers to remain quiet during traffic stops. For clarity, only one person should interact with the police officer(s) involved. Also, it’s wise to have your fellow travelers keep their hands visible.
4. Don’t Lie
Unless your tail light burned out three minutes beforehand, chances are you know exactly why you’ve been pulled over. Accordingly, don’t try to lie to the officer that just pulled you over. You weren’t swerving all over the road because of an allergy attack; you didn’t have to drive 90 miles an hour because your wife is having a baby. Cops have finely calibrated BS meters, so don’t try to mislead them; they can see through your smokescreen like radar piercing through clouds.
3. Stay Put
One thing you should never EVER do during a traffic stop is get out of your vehicle. The only time it’s acceptable to exit your car or truck is when requested to do so by an officer. Otherwise, getting out of the car is a big no-no and is extremely unnerving to law enforcement. One of the best things you can do is just stay put; naturally, the same applies to passengers as well.
2. A Little Politeness Goes a Long Way
Guess what? If you’re nice to the police officer, chances are they’ll reciprocate. Lose the bad attitude, answer their questions and act in a courteous manner. Being on your best behavior can really help you sidestep a ticket. Be friendly and polite.
1. Don’t Argue
And finally, if you do end up receiving a “reward” don’t argue with the officer that gave it to you. They did what they’re required to do and now is not the time to protest. Arguing or cussing them out could get you in more trouble, so please, accept your citation and continue on your way. Of course, if you feel you’ve been wronged, by all means fight the ticket, but do so in an official manner by taking it to court.
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