What to Do When Stopped by Police?

Think first. Do not flee.

Please share this information with teen drivers. It may save their lives—or someone else's life.

Why do police officers stop drivers?

There are many different reasons why a police officer might stop you:

  • The officer may want to warn you about a potentially dangerous situation.
  • You may have committed a traffic violation.
  • The vehicle you are driving may have an equipment violation.
  • The vehicle you are driving may match the description of a vehicle used in a criminal act.

Whatever the reason is for the stop, the officer needs your cooperation.

What about unmarked car?

For your protection regarding unmarked cars, PursuitSAFETY supports doing the following and so do the law enforcement sites we visited. If you are pulled over by an unmarked car or a police officer in plain clothes, or have any other suspicion that the person pulling you over is not a police officer, there are a few actions you can take:

If you are in fear for your safety, you should drive slowly, turn on your hazard lights and drive to the nearest well-lighted, populated location.

Other options:

  • You can ask for photo identification, ask them to call their supervisor or even have them follow you to the nearest police station.
  • The officer is trained to understand these situations and will not be irritated. Never attempt to flee as some police officers are trained to pursue someone who flees.
10 Things to Know
A compilation from a number
of law enforcement web sites.

lights_mirrorYou see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror, and the police officer is not passing you. Ah, that knot in your stomach. You may feel anxious or even angry. That's only natural; most of us have been there.

With this in mind, here are 10 ways that you can help lessen the uneasiness of this experience.

When stopped by a police officer, remember:

  1. Police Officers are trained to ask for identification. Providing your documentation will simplify and speed up the process.
  2. Remain in your vehicle unless the officer advises otherwise.
  3. Keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them.
  4. If the stop occurs during darkness, please turn on your dome light so that the officer can see that all is in order.
  5. Avoid any sudden movements, especially toward the floorboard, rear seat or passenger side of the vehicle.
  6. Bright spotlights are used for the safety of all persons involved. They are not meant to intimidate or embarrass you.
  7. Comply with the officer's request to see your driver's license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Most state Motor Vehicle Codes require you to display these items at the request of a police officer.
  8. If your documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach for them.
  9. The officer may issue a ticket. If you feel the reason is unclear, ask for details.
  10. If you do not agree with the citation, please do not argue at the scene. You have a right to contest the citation in court.
    ·Traffic stops are a very important law enforcement function, which maintains safety throughout our community.

Please understand that each situation is unique and that a police officer must alter his or her response to fit the circumstance. Generally, however, a police officer will:

  • Provide his/her name and badge number upon request.
  • Inform the driver of the vehicle of the reason for being stopped.