What To Do If You’re Pulled Over

Police SUV driving in San Antonio

When a traffic stop occurs, rest assured that you’re getting pulled over because the police officer noticed something that puts you or other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Getting pulled over by the police is never an enjoyable experience, but it’s not a pleasant task for the police officer either. Every vehicle they pull over they risk endangering themselves by the oncoming traffic in the surrounding area or by the civilians they meet in the vehicle. There are a few things you can learn from traffic stops and the first is to assess the situation from the officer’s point of view.

Traffic stops are dangerous for police officers because the motorist may pose a threat to the officer in multiple ways. The driver could be having a bad day already and a traffic stop is the last thing they want. Police officers endure disrespectful and ill-mannered attitudes on a daily basis and sometimes unpredictable behavior in the form of sudden and violent attacks can occur from the motorist. Another threat police officers face is traffic. Police officers can, and sometimes, are hit and killed while giving a traffic citation. You can make a police officer’s day safer by pulling over in a safe area and not doing anything that will make the officer think you’re a risk.

Here’s what to do when you’re getting pulled over: First, after you notice the flashing lights behind you, acknowledge the officer by turning on your flashers. Do it, especially if you think you’ll need to drive a distance before finding a safe place to pull over. And remember, to pull over to the right side of the road. Make sure the shoulder is wide enough for your vehicle and the officer’s vehicle, and offers enough space for him or her to approach and speak to you. Turn off your engine, roll down the window, and turn on your dome lights. Stay calm and stay inside the vehicle. If not, you may give the officer an impression that you are going to be aggressive.

Keep your hands on the steering wheel so that the officer knows where they are. When the officer approaches, wait for them to ask for your documents and obtain them unhurriedly. If rushed, it may look like you’re reaching for a weapon. If you’re carrying a weapon, let the officer know as soon as possible. If you don’t think you’re guilty of any violations, you may fight it in court. Don’t argue with the officer over who is right or wrong. If you’ve been issued a citation, sign it and give it back to the police officer. Once he has allowed you to leave, cautiously merge back into traffic.

Don’t turn a simple traffic stop into a nightmare for both parties. Think ahead and prevent a traffic stop in the first place by driving safely and practicing good driver habits. Remember, a police officer will not pull you over for no reason, so stay safe out on the road and be courteous to police officers.


  1. Gloria Ramos Reply

    God bless all police officers everywhere. Thank you for taking care of us.

  2. Jaime Santillan Reply

    What is the best way to handle a traffic stop for CHL holders like myself? Should I leave my hands at the steering wheel and notify the officer when they get to my vehicle and wait for instructions on how to retrieve my information?

    • sapoa Reply

      Yes, notify the officer just as soon as you’re able to.

  3. Paul Reply

    Stay safe brothers. Hope civillians read this post and follow it. We deal with enough idiots and wanna be lawyers. People need to know cooperation could result in a warning depending on the reason for the stop.

  4. Zadaz Reply

    Actually, I appreciate this advice and I would also appreciate even more if the police would admit and push the idea that the proliferation of guns is a major factor in increasing the propensity for the officer to react with to defend him:herself with a lethal action to someone who doesn’t react in quite the way the officer expected he or she will react. Putting myself in the same position I probably would react acvordinly as well.. As just a private citizen, I feel my right to feel safe in my community has been seriously and harmfully affected by the prolific increase of guns in our society. So yes, thank you SAPD. Now have the balls to stand up and talk about how the gun laws in Tx have prolferared guns and exponentially raised the danger level for police!

  5. James Bell Reply

    Thanks!! I’m sharing the message..

  6. Monica Reply

    I have seen these before and have shared with my teenager…..whats awkward is when your teen gets pulled over (and is nervous) and the police officer is rude and makes this 1st experience not so polite! I know this isn’t how all police officers are but thought I’d share

  7. Gabriel Reply

    Is it OK to say I don’t answer questions

  8. David Reply

    One modification – I prefer to extract my wallet and have my ID’s (driver’s license and CHL) in hand on the steering wheel before the officer approaches. Then I don’t have to reach for anything when the officer makes contact.

  9. Bob Reply

    Good advice but I think police officers should escorts the vehicle they are pulling over off the highway. It is not safe for the officer or the pedestrian as stated in the article. It slows the flow of traffic also.

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