How To Behave When Pulled Over For Speeding
I know that I am not alone when I say that getting pulled over for a speeding ticket makes for a frustrating day. There are a lot of excuses that I might want to make for myself, but when it comes right down to it, speeding can lead to some really dangerous situations. Fortunately, there are some actions we can all take that will make the interchange between yourself and the police officer a little bit more positive. In some cases, by taking responsibility for your actions and treating the officer with respect, you may even be able to end up with a smaller ticket than if you had acted belligerently.
#1 Pull over quickly and safely.
When you see the lights of a police cruiser pulling up behind your car, begin to signal and slow down a bit to acknowledge to the police officer that you are pulling over. If you are on a busy street, look for an area to pull over which won’t leave the officer in the way of passing traffic. If you can, find a shoulder with plenty of room or pull into a parking lot or other safe area, the officer will appreciate the chance to talk to you without worrying about being hit by passing cars.
#2 Breathe deeply and calm down.
At this point, you probably already know why you’ve been pulled over. It is important that even if you feel that the officer has made a mistake you remain calm and polite. This courtesy can go a long way toward alleviating some of the concerns that the officer may have upon approaching your vehicle. Police officers are often killed in routine traffic stops. Even if you plan to contest the ticket later on, right now is the time to stay in control of your emotions and proceed respectfully.
#3 Roll down your window and keep your hands in plain sight.
This is important advice to follow. The officer won’t know if you are reaching into the glove compartment for your paperwork or for a weapon. Instead, roll the window down, turn off the radio and turn on your interior lights. Place your hands on the steering wheel and wait until the officer asks you for your ID and registration. You may want to tell the officer where you are going to reach before you begin digging into your back pocket or purse.
#4 Respond with honesty, but don’t jump into any answers.
The police officer will appreciate your honesty and by taking responsibility if you were clearly violating the law, you can often expect to be treated with a little less hostility. Don’t try to argue yourself out of a ticket at this point. You can maintain a respectful demeanor, answer questions clearly and then discuss the case with an attorney at a later time.
There are some common questions that you’ll be asked when you are pulled over speeding. Respond with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and practice your best listening manners. Here are a few examples:
- The officer asks if you know how fast you were going. Respond with a ‘yes’ and don’t make excuses.
- If the officer asks if you know why you were pulled over, answer with a ‘no’. This will give you the opportunity to contest the ticket in court if you decide to.
- The officer may tell you how fast you were traveling. Don’t argue or make excuses. Simply say “okay” or don’t say anything at all.
Remember if you plan to talk to an attorney about contesting the ticket, then anything that you say to the officer may be used against you. Keep it polite, simple and non-confrontational.
I have been given a warning instead of a ticket simply because I was polite and hones during this conversation.
#5 Remain in your vehicle unless the officer asks you to get out.
It is safer for both you and the officer if you stay in your car. Just sit tight, the officer will come to you. However, if the officer does ask you to step out of your car, do it without arguing. By resisting, refusing or arguing about the officer’s requests you could present yourself as a troublemaker and then you will find yourself in trouble. Remember, the goal is to come out of this situation with as little frustration or inconvenience possible.
If you stay calm and present yourself in a non-threatening manner, then your experience will be much more pleasant. You can save yourself from appearing belligerent and, in some cases, may drive away without a ticket.