You’re driving down the road minding your own business. Suddenly, you see red and blue lights flashing behind you and you hear the sound of a police siren.
It’s always nerve-wracking dealing with law enforcement. Even if you’re not exactly doing anything illegal, you never know how the situation might escalate if you say or do something wrong.
So, before it happens to you, read this to be better prepared in case one day you get pulled over by a police officer. Here are some examples of how you should react if your car is stopped by the police for no reason:
Remain in Your Vehicle and Politely Ask Why You’re Pulled Over
It’s always a good idea to stay in your car when an officer pulls you over, as it can prevent an unnecessary escalation of tension. And when you ask why you’re pulled over, it’s imperative to stay polite. If the officer believes that responding with respect benefits them more than being rude or uncooperative, they’ll be much more likely to treat you accordingly.
Make No Rapid Movements
Even if you’re completely innocent and have nothing to hide, any sudden movements can look suspicious to an officer who is just trying to do their job. So don’t take any rapid steps out of your car or towards the police vehicle unless instructed by the officer after they approach you.
Prepare Documents and License Beforehand
Before you step outside of your vehicle, make sure that you’re prepared with any documentation necessary to show the officer. Things like registration and proof of insurance can be brought out calmly without alarming anyone or appearing to be hiding anything. And don’t forget about your license! Usually, it’s a good idea to have that on you at all times.
If possible, answer every question honestly — even if it’s related to something embarrassing like a DUI test or whether there are drugs in your car. You really have nothing to gain by lying to an officer who has stopped you. While it’s still possible that you might get in trouble for something, just remember that the worst thing you can do is lie about what happened.
Appeal to Their Better Nature
While this may not always work, appealing to the better nature of a police officer is still worth trying. For example, if they suspect you’ve been drinking because your car smells like alcohol, rather than fight them every step of the way because you think it will make them angry, try telling them that it would be irresponsible to drive home when obviously drunk and ask if they could give you a ride instead.
You also should apologize if you have accidentally broken a law. Sometimes, police officers are understanding, and they’ll be more likely to let you go with just a warning or small ticket instead of a big fine if they see that you are sincere and you have learned your lesson.
When in doubt, using kindhearted language could help improve the situation because people are more likely to be empathetic rather than aggressive when stressed.
Try to Stay Calm
Even though you might be nervous, try your best to stay calm when an officer pulls you over for no reason. The more relaxed and at ease you seem, the less likely they are to think there’s a reason for concern. So take deep breaths and remember that everything is going to be okay even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
Make Sure Your Dashcam is Recording
Installing a dashcam guarantees that all interactions with police or other individuals will be recorded. It’s good to have a dashcam that also records audio and another dash cam that is pointed behind your vehicle.
It’s no secret that there are law enforcers out there who abuse their power. Although most are only doing their jobs to ensure that the community is peaceful and safe, in case you encounter one of the bad apples, you’ll have evidence that can back up your claims of wrongdoing.
Police officers have a tough job, and they’re just trying to do their best. If your car is pulled over for no reason, you should remain calm, cooperate fully with the officer’s requests, and avoid making sudden movements or gestures that could be perceived as threatening. Although it may feel like your rights are being violated when stopped by police who seem suspicious of everything you say or do, if you can appeal to their better nature while remaining polite throughout the encounter then there might be less chance that anything bad happens to you. And remember: always keep an eye on any interactions between yourself and law enforcement via dashcam so that in case something goes wrong at some point down the road, all evidence will back up your story.