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What to Do If You're Pulled Over

Being pulled over can be scary and frustrating at the same time. You may not be sure why you’re being pulled over, and if you don’t know what to do or how to act when you’re pulled over, you could end up making the situation worse. Before you get yourself arrested for making a mistake, use the following information to help you learn what to do if you’re being pulled over.

1. Make sure it’s the police.

We live in a world of scam artists, and some people are using unmarked squad cars to pull people over in order to cause harm. If you are unsure if it’s a real cop car due to being unmarked, you can call 911 to find out. If the dispatcher confirms that a police car is pulling you over, you can let the dispatcher know that you will pull over shortly and they can provide the police officer with this information so the officer doesn’t think you’re resisting. If it isn’t a real police officer, the dispatcher will inform you of what to do in order to keep you safe.

2. Pull over.

The minute you see the police officer behind you with their lights flaring (and you know it’s a real cop), you need to pull over to the right immediately. Use your turn signal if you need to switch lanes. If you are on a busy street, you should pull into the nearest parking lot instead of stopping traffic. If you are on a highway or busy road, make sure you pull over as far to the right as possible so that the officer has plenty of room between your car and traffic to stand and talk with you.


3. Prepare yourself.

The more courteous you can be may help the severity of your offense. Roll your window down and turn your radio off right away so that the officer doesn’t have to ask you to do so. Make sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them. If it’s dark, you should also turn on your interior light. When the officer approaches and asks for all of your information, give it to them and be polite. If you’re not sure what you did wrong, ask.

You should always remain in the car. If the police officer wants you to get out for any reason, they will let you know. If you start getting out of the car, the officer may assume that you are trying to run or cause harm, and they may use force to get you to stop.

4. Don’t make the situation worse.

Police officers can’t search your car without reason, so don’t give them a reason. Never keep anything illegal in your vehicle, and don’t desperately try to hide something as the officer is approaching. If the officer sees anything illegal within plain view, or if they think you were trying to hide something, it will give them the right to search your vehicle.

5. Don’t admit wrongdoing.

You may know that you were speeding or you failed to stop at a stop sign, but don’t admit it. If an offer asks you if you know why you were pulled over, say no. Let them tell you. If you say that you knew how fast you were going or any other admittance of guilt, the officer can use this information against you in court.

By knowing how to properly act when pulled over, you may be able to get off  with a warning instead of an actual ticket. Always listen to the officer and be polite—it could save you a huge fine.

Ruth Ellison is a writer and stay at home mom.  She likes to write about cleaning, shopping, and traveling.  Ruth often relies on her Nissan to take her kids to all their extra activities around town.

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