How to Handle Random Police Traffic Stops

How to Handle Random Police Traffic Stops

You don’t need to be pulled over to find yourself at a random police traffic stop. Conducting yourself poorly could lead officers to believe you’re guilty of something when you’re completely innocent. Use these tips to get yourself through a traffic stop incident-free.

Key Points

  • Understand that the police are simply doing their job. If you’re not doing anything illegal and don’t have an outstanding warrant, then a random traffic stop should not affect you.
  • Few individuals have nerves of steel when confronting police — stay calm, use your common sense and comply with the officer.
  • Each traffic stop has a different setup. They’re often located in the middle of the road, but sometimes you’ll need to pull over. Slow down and follow the officer’s requests. They’ll direct you where you can safely move your vehicle.
  • Roll down your window so the officer has a clear view of you and the inside of the car. Wait for the officer to give further instructions. Their most common request is to see your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance information.
  • Do not make any sudden movements and keep your hands where the officer can see them. If you need to move to grab an item inside your car, then clearly inform the officer of what you’re doing and where your hands are going. For example, tell the police that you’re reaching in your glove compartment if your proof of insurance is in there.
  • If you own a permit to carry a gun and have one in your vehicle, then inform the officer before taking any further actions. Follow their requests slowly and calmly to assure the officer you mean them no harm.
  • Always be respectful and courteous to the officer. Keep in mind that police officers have the authority to make their own judgement calls. They have a hard and thankless job, so avoid making everyone’s life difficult during a routine traffic stop.
  • If the officer’s requests are unreasonable or questionable, it’s usually best to go along with them. You can always appeal the decision later. Attempting to argue or fight with the police on the spot could result in a more severe penalty, a trip to jail — or worse if the situation escalates. It only hurts your case when you don’t cooperate with law enforcement during a traffic stop scenario.

Random police traffic stops are common practice in part because they’re effective at catching drivers under the influence. Treat law enforcement officials with respect and friendliness to make this routine stop smooth and painless. You have the power to make the experience as stress-free as possible for everyone involved.