Stopped by a Traffic Cop?

Hereís what to do.

First, understand that if you see red lights in your rear view mirror, it does not necessarily mean you did anything wrong. It could be a fire truck, lifeguard, ambulance or a police car just trying to get past you to respond to an emergency. If that is the case, when you safely pull to the right curb and stop, they will just go around you.

Second, if you are the focus of those red lights, realize that the officer making the stop has no idea who you are or what reason you may have had for doing whatever you were stopped for. Try to remain calm. The officer will approach you with caution until he/she is assured you are a law-abiding citizen. Please donít take offense at this cautious approach. It is designed with your safety and the officerís safety in mind.

Third, when you stop your car, do it at the right curb line. Don't stop in the middle of the street, donít block a traffic lane or driveway. When you are safely at the side of the road, turn off the engine, radio and headlights. Turn on the interior light at night and roll down your window. Remain in the vehicle with your hands in sight of the approaching officer. Never make sudden moves to the glove compartment, under or between the seats as that is where some criminals keep weapons to use against police officers who stop them.

Fourth, when you are stopped by the police, you are required to present your driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance to the officer. The officer will explain why you were stopped and what action is being taken. You will be offered an opportunity to give an explanation for the cause of the stop. If you are issued a citation, the officer will explain your options in handling the citation. When you sign the citation, you are not admitting guilt. You are only making a written promise to appear in court, although on most offenses you can handle the matter by mail.

After the officer completes the warning or citation, you will be told you are free to continue on your way. Don't wait for the police car to leave first. The officer may have additional paper work to complete before moving. When it is safe to do so, enter the traffic lane and continue on your way When you get a chance, read the back of the citation for information about taking care of the citation.


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