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What do I do if I get pulled over?

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You know the routine. You’re driving down the street when suddenly, red and blue bright lights appear in your rearview mirror. Your hands tighten up on the steering wheel and you being to sweat. You ease off the gas and pull your car into the right lane, hoping that the cop behind you will pass you by. But he doesn’t. Instead, he slows up behind you signaling you to pull off to the side of the road.

The first thing you need to do is pull over into a safe area far off to the side of the road. You don’t want to impede the flow of traffic behind you. Make sure that the area you pull into has plenty of space for both your car and the cop car. Don’t coast for a few miles with the cop tailing you closely from behind. He may begin to wonder whether or not you are not you are stalling on purpose, perhaps to hide something in the glove compartment or under the seat. If you happen to pass by a few safe places to pull over, he may grow suspicious.

Despite what most people think, it’s best not to turn off your engine. Put the car in park, but keep the engine running. Some police officers don’t want to have to deal with a stalled car in addition to the reasons why they pulled you over. The officer may ask you to turn off the engine when he approaches the car. If that is the case, then it is safe to do so. Take the keys out of the ignition and place them gently on the dashboard. Then place your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them. Don’t make any sudden movements or reach for something unless the officer asks for your license and registration. Police officers are taught to be cautious and apprehensive when approaching a motorist. The first thing they look for when you roll down the window is the placement of your hands.

Also, stay in the car. If you leave your car at any time, the police officer may think that you’re going to make a run for it. Don’t give him any more reasons to be suspicious. You want to be as polite and as courteous as possible. Be careful what you say and how you phrase your answers. Many people try to explain or reason their actions before they even know why they were pulled over in the first place. By doing this, you may accidentally reveal something that the officer was unaware of. Let the officer speak first. Answer calmly and remain patient while the officer details the reasons why he pulled you over. In most cases, if you weren’t excessively speeding or doing something blatantly illegal, most cops are likely to let you go with a warning. Do not argue with them. If they are going to give you a ticket anyway, you can argue your case in court instead.

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