Everyone dreads the image of flashing lights in their rear view mirror. Most of the time it is an emergency vehicle just trying to pass us on their way to their destination, but not always. As a driver you will eventually see those flashing lights and they will be for you and you alone. So how do you handle that fateful time?
First up, don’t panic
I know it is easier said than done. Your heart is thumping and your mind racing. If you have done nothing wrong, you start thinking about all those movies where the police officer in not a real police officer. If you did just break the law or rule of the road, you are probably thinking how I can talk my way out of this one. Your mind is not thinking clearly, so you must get you mind back on track.
Look for a safe place to pull over
Don’t speed up, but slow down so the police officer knows you have seen him and complying with pulling over. Try not to go into a ditch, drive up someone’s driveway or hit anything. Avoid low hanging trees and over grown shrubs next to your car as they might harbor wasps or bees. The last thing you need is the officer to see you waving wildly in your car because a bee just entered your window. The officer will not see the bee and their mind will start racing.
Stay in your car
After you have pulled over, never but never get out of your car, even if that swam of wasps has entered through the passenger window and has started to sip from your fast food cola. Just stay calm and ignore the stings. If you do get out of your car, plan on a nice extended stay at the local city center, courtesy of the police.
Don’t move around
As the officer approaches your car do not remember at the last minute that your purse or wallet is under the seat. Diving for your drivers license will look like you are diving for that gun that is under the passenger seat. Never mind that it is a toy gun that junior left in there 3 week ago.
Hopefully you have your seat-belt on and so do all of your passengers, including the dog who like to snap at people who approach your car. Putting seat-belts on at this point of the stop will be noticeable to the officer as he/she rings up in their head the fine for each infraction.
Stay calm, be polite
Wind down your window as the officer approaches. You can always explain to the officer when he/her gets to your wreak of a car that the window will not open. The officer will then ask you to step out of the car and proceed to take you to a safe place where you can provide the information that the officer requests.
If your window works fine then just comply with the officers requests. They will ask for your driver’s license and proof of car insurance. If you cannot provide it but you have them at home, the officer can usually run a quick computer check. Unfortunately any other violations you might have will also show up on the computer screen including the leash law violation you had last year but forgot to show up in court for.
After the officer has finally told you why you will pulled over, which is often preceded by the guessing game, “do you know why I pulled you over?”, try to keep your temper to a minimum. For heaven sakes don’t insult the officer by pulling out that stupid “ticket talker” that is advertised on TV.
Remain polite and don’t make any sudden moves during your ordeal. Make sure the other people in the car remain quite and don’t move around too. The entire incident should only take 10-15 minutes and you will be soon on your way again.
Lastly, as the officer makes that sarcastic remark of “have a nice day” as you get ready to leave, don’t speed off or pull into traffic without looking or the “nice day” will be spent downtown calling for a ride to get home.
Have a nice day.