You’re driving along on your way to work, travel mug full of hot steaming java, with your favorite morning show on full blast when you notice the blue and cherry lights flashing in your rearview mirror.“Oh no!,” you say to yourself, “How fast was I going!? Did I forget to use my turn signal? I’m going to be late for work!”
While at this point it seems like a traffic ticket is inevitable, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of driving away with just a warning.
- Pull over to a safe area as soon as possible. somewhere you won’t disrupt the flow of traffic. Spending too much time creeping along the road looking for a perfect spot could further agitate the law enforcement officer, or even convince him or her that you are making a run. Not good!
- Roll down your window completely. Cracking it open just a tad sends up some serious red flags.
- Place both your hands on the steering wheel until instructed by the officer to hand over the necessary documentation. This is a message to the officer that you mean no harm and that you have his or her safety in mind.
- Do be sure to be polite! It’s best that you are cooperative and respectful, to decrease your chances of receiving a ticket. Officers often use the first few minutes of a traffic stop as an informal attitude test. Act combative and rude, you might as well write the ticket you are certain to receive yourself.
- Politely let the officer know of any changes to your address or other information. This should be the only time you speak when unprompted. It’s best that you remain silent and only answer questions. Nervous blathering is never a good thing to do when around a law enforcement officer.
- Don’t exit your vehicle! That gives the office a reason to reach for their weapon. Don’t turn what is probably a routine traffic stop to something that’s going to land you on the 5 o’clock news.
- Be careful not to make quick movements. When asked for your license and other documents, it’s best not to lunge across the seat and start digging. Quick. jerky movements can cause the officer to believe that you are reaching for a weapon. That’s never good!
- Don’t drop names, try and joke around, or make rude comments. It doesn’t matter if you play golf with the district attorney or if you have two semesters of law school under your belt . You are subject to the law just like every other person on the road, no mater who you rub elbows with. Most people talk themselves into a ticket, rather than talking themselves out of one.
While nothing can keep you from a ticket, these do’s and don’ts manage to help put the odds in your favor. Good luck out there on the road and remember, watch those traffic signs!