Getting pulled over by a cop can be an intimidating experience regardless of whether you know his or her reason for doing so. The flashing blue or red lights may ignite a mini panic attack as you attempt to get over to the shoulder as quickly as possible, hoping that you do not end your day with an unexpected ticket.

No matter how stressed out you may be in the moment, it is important to know what steps to take in the unfavorable situation so that you can avoid facing unnecessary problems. Keep the following suggestions in mind if you find yourself being told to pull over by a cop:

  • Only pull over when it is safe to do so: Just because a cop has signaled you to pull over does not mean that traffic rules no longer apply. You are expected to and have the right to pull over safely. Avoid unlawful passing or reckless lane-changing. Once you have reached the shoulder, put your car in park before rolling your window down. If you have been pulled over at night, make sure you turn your interior light on after parking your car.
  • Avoid assuming the cop’s instructions: While it may seem obvious that you will have to pull out your driver’s license and vehicle registration paperwork, wait until you have been prompted to do so. Reaching for your back pocket or glove box immediately may cause the cop to assume that you are reaching for a weapon. Keep both hands on the wheel until you have been told to retrieve your documents. Do not hesitate to let the cop know where these items are as you reach for them.
  • Exit the vehicle safely when prompted: If the cop instructs you to step out of your vehicle, make sure that you keep an eye out for any passing vehicles. Open your door once the road appears to be clear so that you can demonstrate a safe exit from your car.
  • Merge back into traffic safely: If the cop lets you go, be sure to pull out of the shoulder safely. The cop will likely still be able to see you, and it is important to demonstrate lawful habits and safety awareness. Keep an eye out for passing vehicles and take your time merging back into traffic with caution.

Avoid facing unnecessary traffic charges

Your driving privileges are worth protecting. Even if you are certain that you will not make any mistakes on the road, be sure to practice safe driving habits. This includes making sure that you have your driver’s license and vehicle registration on you whenever you hit the road.

Anyone can make a poor judgment call on the road and unexpectedly find themselves being told to pull over. Take note of what to do in the unlikely situation so that you do not end up facing unnecessary trouble or additional traffic violation charges.