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How to Act when the Police Pull You Over

You may still get a citation, but if you follow the steps below you can make your encounter with the police a safe and courteous one.


1. Pull over. Sure, it may seem like a fun idea to get on TV for a few hours while news and police helicopters chase you from here to kingdom come but be assured, there is nothing that makes cops madder than running away from them, so do not do it. Angry cops are not fun cops and they will have very little sympathy for you after you endanger them and the public with your rank stupidity.

2. Focus on officer safety first. That is what the officer is focused on when he pulls you over. Make sure you pull right off the highway, leaving plenty of space for the officer to stand beside the car (and not on the road). If it's dark outside, turn the car's interior lights on.

3. There is no higher risk situation for the police then the vehicular stop. This is because he is approaching an unknown person in a car, his gun is holstered, (in most case scenarios,) and you could be anybody armed with anything. This is all the officer is thinking about when he or she comes to your window: do you pose a threat to his or her life or safety? The very best way to make the officer feel safer in this situation is to:

4. Keep your hands in plain view until told otherwise. Very few people are adept at using guns and knives with their feet. The police understand this very well and are trained to watch your hands. Do them a huge favor and keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times (after placing the vehicle in park and turning off the ignition).

5. Do not reach for anything in the passenger compartment of your vehicle or under your seat. When instructed, you can reach towards your wallet or glove compartment, but do it slowly and deliberately. If it is nighttime, the officer will follow your hands with his flashlight. Finish this process before anything else, then put your hands back on the wheel.

6. While the officer checks your license and vehicle status via radio, keep your hands on the steering wheel.

7. Do not ever get out of your vehicle unless requested to do so. This is almost always perceived as a threat and it is more safe for you inside the car than out in traffic.

8. Not your every day pull over ... Be polite, do not argue.


Making officer safety your primary concern helps keep you safe. If a patrol officer mistakes a sudden movement for going for a weapon, he or she will not hesitate to use deadly force. The more you do to help ensure the officer's safety the more you ensure your own.


If you are dumb enough to be driving with contraband in plain sight - do not try to quickly stuff it under your seat or elsewhere. This conduct is consistent with a person who may be arming himself and could get you roughed up, hurt or killed. Penalties for drug possession are not as bad as what can happen if you provoke a nervous cop into thinking you pose a threat to him or her.

Article source: wikiHow wikiHow is a group effort to create a great resource: the world's largest free how to manual. wikiHow articles help people solve their everyday problems. wikiHow licenses all content under a Creative Commons License. The license allows wikiHow content to be used freely for noncommercial purposes. The Creative Commons License also allows for the creation of derivative works.

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