Just as if you were stopped on foot, when pulled over while traveling in your vehicle it is best to abide by common sense in your interactions with a police officer. Because their day to day job places them squarely in harm’s way, it is best to avoid any action that could place an officer on edge. In addition to avoiding sudden movements, maintaining a respectful and serious disposition, following directions and providing room for personal space, one would be wise to adhere to the following guidelines when subject to a traffic stop
- Remain in your vehicle Unless asked specifically by an officer to step out of your vehicle, which is highly unlikely prior to an officer approaching your window, stay inside your car. Exiting your vehicle could be interpreted as either a flight risk or act of aggression and met with appropriate force.
- Keep your hands in plain sight A car provides an additional hazard for a police officer as it offers restricted sight lines in regards to activity inside the vehicle. Do not reach into the glove box, under the dash or beneath a seat without first clearing it with the officer. Weapons and/or contraband could easily be stored in such places, both arousing an officer’s suspicion and posing a threat to his or her personal safety.
- Pull over quickly and safely Failure to pull over as soon as possible once a police car has turned on its lights could be seen as noncompliance and result in possible charges, even if you were only initially pulled over as a cautionary measure. Police sometimes pull over cars matching suspect descriptions or in an effort to alert operators of maintenance defects. Also, make sure you pull over to a location in which the officer can access your vehicle with as little difficulty or danger as possible. Police officers already take a number of chances in the line of duty; routine traffic stops should not be one of them.