You’re cruising down the road, listening to your favorite song on the radio. You’ve got the windows down, you turn up the tunes and you’re just having a great day. Then, uh-oh, you see blue lights in your rearview. It’s all good, you think, they’re not even pulling me over, they just want past me. You pull off, and, to your horror, the cop pulls right in behind you.
Here we go, you think, I’m getting a ticket. Now what? Here are top behaviors to avoid when you get pulled over for a traffic violation.
Don’t Freak Out
Try to stay calm. Cops do a ton of traffic stops, so this is routine to them. However, you probably don’t get pulled over all that often. Just relax: the officer is going to come to your window and talk to you, and you’re probably getting a ticket. This isn’t the end of the world. The more tense and awkward you are, the more likely the cop is to give you a stiffer fine or a more intense ticket.
While you’re at it, keep your seatbelt on as the officer approaches the car. That way, they can tell that you were wearing one before they pulled you over. Just keep your hands on the wheel as they approach; that way, they can see your hands and there are no complications or misunderstandings.
Don’t Talk First, Don’t Argue
Don’t get the jump on the officer by trying to talk first. This could be seen as you covering for being guilty, or just as general combativeness. Let the officer start talking and just respond. Don’t offer up any more information than the officer asks for, and, whatever you do, don’t try to argue with them. If you want to argue a point, get a lawyer and talk with the judge in court. No one ever made a situation better by arguing with a police officer.
Don’t Answer “That” Question
Here’s a big one that a lot of people miss: when the officer asks you “do you know why I’ve pulled you over today?” the only answer you should ever give is “no.” If you admit to guilt for something, you’re getting a ticket for it. Even asking “oh, was I speeding?” or “is my taillight out?” could be taken as tacit admissions of guilt.
So, relax, keep your hands visible, make no sudden moves, maintain a sunny disposition, and offer no admissions of guilt. This traffic stop will be over in no time.