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What you should do during a traffic stop

Posted on November 25, 2020

There are some important guidelines for helping you to have a smooth traffic stop. You are not powerless over what happens. During the interaction with a law enforcement officer, you must be careful to refrain from any type of action that could steer the interaction south. Your cooperative conduct can make a big difference on the outcome. 

Here are some suggestions on how to conduct yourself during a traffic stop

Stay calm

If you act nervous or the officer believes you act agitated, he or she may begin to suspect you have something to hide. Take deep breaths to keep your nerves steady. 

Remain in your vehicle

Do not step out of your vehicle unless an officer asks you to do so, as exiting your vehicle could appear as a threatening or aggressive action. Also, it may be dangerous to stand outside of your vehicle because of oncoming traffic. 

Keep your hands visible

When an officer is standing next to you, make sure he or she can see your hands. Do not reach for your driver’s license unless an officer asks you for it. Say that you are going to get your driver’s license, registration or proof of insurance before you do so. 

Speak courteously

Even if you believe you have done nothing wrong or you believe the officer has violated your rights, do not be confrontational with law enforcement. Officers will probably not respond favorably to a person who expresses annoyance and demands to know what they are doing or why. If you are argumentative, an officer may interpret your behavior as hostile and potentially dangerous. 

Remember that traffic stops are just part of the officer’s job, and try to keep the interaction positive.