Tips for Safe Traffic Stops

Law Enforcement is both a difficult and dangerous profession. Officers must constantly be aware of not only the safety of the citizens they are dedicated to protect, but of their own

safety, too. 

Procedures may appear unnecessary, however, even the most routine traffic stop can be potentially dangerous. By understanding what is going to happen and what will be expected ahead of time may eliminate possible misunderstandings.

Procedures may vary, however, if you are driving along and see the flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle in the rear-view mirror, follow these guidelines.

1. Pull over to the right side of the roadway and position your vehicle as far out of the lane of traffic as possible.

2. Turn off your engine and any other device (radio, etc.). Roll down your driver's window and any tinted windows. Keep your seatbelt on. If it is dark, turn on the interior lights and your hazard flashers.

3. Stay calm and ask passengers to remain quiet and calm, too. As the officer approaches, put your hands in plain view preferably on the steering wheel or in plain sight. Stay seated and inside the vehicle unless you are asked to get out. Make all movements slowly. The officer is watching carefully to make sure a weapon is not being drawn or something is being hidden. 

4. Ask for identification if an officer is not in uniform or if the patrol vehicle is unmarked. 

5. Usually, you will be asked for your valid driver's license & proof of registration and insurance. You do not have to be told why you were pulled over before you comply. When you do move, say that you are going to move slowly. Put your hands back on the wheel while the officer checks your license and vehicle status. 

6. Answer questions politely and honestly, but be brief. Remain calm and respectful. Let the officer know if you are carrying a weapon and if you have a legal permit. 

7. Follow the officer's directions concerning getting out of the vehicle; suspicion of alcohol use; possession of illegal objects; or safety violations. Do not resist a pat down. 

8. Be polite and do not argue if you are given a ticket. The matter can be contested later in court. The citation may show the date and location of the court date, if not call the local police department.

Don't be surprised if other patrol vehicles appear. Remember, your interaction may be recorded for everyone's safety.