Safety Precautions During a Traffic Stop
No one likes to get a ticket, but should you find yourself in the position of being pulled over by a Police Officer, it is important to know how to keep yourself and the Officer safe. Remember that police get killed in traffic stops, usually as a result of a lack of safety precautions. Pull over as soon as it is safe, but never stop on a curve or in an intersection. Make sure you shut off your engine, stay in your vehicle and keep both hands on the wheel. If you happen to get stopped at night, turn on the interior light.
You should keep your proof of insurance and drivers’ license easily accessible when you are in your vehicle, both for purposes of traffic accidents and safety stops. However, do not get these items ready until the police officer asks for it. If your insurance information is in your glove box or center console, make sure you tell the officer what you are doing before you reach for it. If you have a concealed weapon in the vehicle, advise the officer of this and be prepared to present your concealed weapon permit. If the officer does not advise you of why he or she pulled you over, it is okay to politely ask. Make sure you are friendly, but respectful. Never lie to an officer or be argumentative. Do not make excuses, but you may offer explanations for any misunderstandings of the law. Apologize for any traffic infraction and do not be confrontational.
Remember that you are required to identify yourself during a traffic stop, but police do not generally have the right to search your vehicle without probably cause. If an officer asks to search your vehicle, you do have the right to refuse under the fourth amendment to the Constitution. You do not have a right to be physical with an Officer at any time.
Finally, you have the right to ask police questions regarding the traffic stop. After the traffic stop, the Officer will return to his vehicle. At that time, you are able to safely pull back into traffic. Remember to signal when re-entering the roadway and consider the safety of other drivers as you resume your place in traffic.