There are many reasons for a police officer to pull you off the road while driving. The officer may have spotted an equipment violation, such as a broken tail light. There could also be a more serious reason for the request.

Speeding and traffic violations are common reasons for pulling over a driver. As soon as you spot flashing lights in your mirror, prepare to pull over. Use your blinker to acknowledge the request and intent to comply.

First impressions

If the police pulled you over, it is important not to panic and to obey the officer’s request. Turn your engine off and roll down your window. Shut off any media that is playing and place your open hands on the steering wheel. Make sure you allow the officer to speak first after approaching your car.

Remain calm and do not leave your vehicle unless told to. Sudden moves may cause the officer to become suspicious, suggesting you are hiding something or looking for a weapon. Do not retrieve your driver’s license and proof of insurance until the officer asks for them.

Second thoughts

Your attitude may affect the outcome of your traffic stop. Never argue with traffic citations, even if you disagree with the officer’s claim. You will have a chance in court to state your case.

If an officer suspects a serious violation, he may insist that you get out of the car. You have the right to refuse a field sobriety test, although the police may arrest you for suspicion of being over the legal drinking limit and can impound your car. If an officer believes you might be a threat, a quick pat-down search of your outer clothing may be necessary. An officer may opt to search your entire vehicle if incriminating items are visible.

Final points

You may receive a traffic citation. Ask the officer for clarification if necessary. You must sign a citation to acknowledge receipt, even when innocent. If innocent, you have the option to appear in court and take your case before a judge. Your attitude and actions may be the determining factors of the outcome.