No matter how many years you have been driving, it is never too late to learn proper etiquette when dealing with a police officer. No one wants to put their drive on hold to deal with being pulled over. The angry or upset emotions that generally accompany this, more often then not cloud our judgement. We forget that all the officer is doing, is their job. The same thing that you are probably heading to or leaving. Being a police officer can be a scary profession and it is the courteous thing to do to learn how to act around one! There are simple actions you can take to show the officer that you mean no trouble.
The top 5 things to do when being pulled over are:
Find a safe location.
If you notice a police officer’s lights behind you, turn on your blinker to let them know that you have noticed them and are trying to find a safe place to pull over! “A safe place” includes safe for the officer to walk to your car, but also safe for you. If you are uncomfortable or in a dim lit area of town, you can continue until you find a well-lit place that you feel safe.
Roll your window down.
You should completely roll down your window before the officer approaches. This allows him to have a clear view of you from the start and shows early on that you are not hiding anything!
Turn off the music.
There can be a lot of nerves that accompany being pulled over. Music is likely to cloud your ability to understand one another. It is the polite thing to do to have your music off, so there are no distractions!
Place both hands on the steering wheel.
Does everyone remember the “10 and 2” position that they were taught to drive with at a young age? As the officer is approaching you should have your hands placed on the steering wheel in that position. It shows the officer that you do not plan on causing any trouble- such as reaching for weapons or putting the car into drive. It will allow the officer to feel safe and less skeptical about the situation.
Before the police officer has approached your vehicle it may be a good idea to find your wallet or information. This is only if it is easily accessible. After you notice the officer walking towards you, stop digging through items, that way you do not alarm them by looking like you are reaching for a weapon or hiding items.
Be polite and courteous.
Even though being pulled over added time to your travels or caused you to be late, you should always be polite. The officers are taking care of their duties. They have no intention of ruining your day. You should speak kindly and professionally, answer questions as needed and thank them for their service. This will not leave either person with a bad taste in their mouth and more than likely make the process much smoother!
Being pulled over is not fun for drivers, or the officers! But if it is possible to make the process safer for the officers, it will in turn be a smoother and quicker process for drivers! Being courteous and safe goes a long way- trying these techniques when stopped by an officer are sure to improve the experience for both parties involved!