There’s no question, as a driver, it can be downright unnerving when you discover flashing lights behind you and it’s apparent you’re the subject of an officer’s traffic enforcement stop.
“There are certain things you can do to help both you and the officer during the first few moments of being pulled over,” said CSLEA Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman. “Traffic stops pose a danger for officers, so you want to be sure the officer knows you’re compliant and a good citizen.”
So how do you do that? These tips from the California Driver Handbook – Special Driving Situations can help:
- Acknowledge the officer’s presence by turning on your right turn signal. This lets the officer know that you see him/her and you are attempting to pull over.
- Pull over to the right shoulder in an area that appears safe. Never stop in the center median.
- If you’re on your cellphone, stop your conversation, if your radio is playing, turn it off – the officer needs your full attention.
- Remain in your vehicle unless otherwise directed by the officer. It’s the safest place to be for you and your passengers.
- It is okay to roll down your window after you pull over and before the officer approaches your vehicle.
- Place your hands in clear view, this eases the level of possible threat to the officer.
“It’s always good to take a deep breath and remain calm. Don’t let your emotions or nerves get the best of you,” said Ehrman. “Follow directions and always be sure you have your driver license and proof of insurance with you.”