Roadsense: What To Do When A Traffic Police Officer Asks You To Pull Over

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Suppose you have been pulled over for an inspection – You are stressed out, nervous and probably even disoriented. Regardless, it is extremely important to remain courteous and cooperative in such situations. After all, conducting these traffic stops are an integral part of an officer’s quotidian responsibilities as it is their duty to ensure all road users adhere to traffic rules.    

This is how to handle a traffic stop and understand your rights as a driver or passenger:

Tip #1: Always Be Courteous And Polite

Having some class and respect will take you far in life, and it will definitely make the next steps easier for you. Bear in mind that your officer has heard almost every excuse for violating the law, therefore, if you were speeding, an honest apology and willingness to take responsibility can be refreshing. It might even earn a warning.

(Related Story: Roadsense: How To Manage Road Rage)

Tip #2: Pull Over Into A Safe Location

Acknowledge that you have seen and recognise the officer by switching on the turn signal, then pull over to a safe location where your vehicle will not block traffic. Once you have pulled over safely, turn off the engine, roll down the window all the way and place your hands on the steering wheel. If it is dark, turn on the interior light in your car. Do not make any sudden movements or rummage through your belongings looking for your wallet until you are asked for documentation.   

Tip #3: Let The Officer Do The Talking And Respond Where Appropriate 

If an officer asks you if you know the reason why you were pulled over, it is best to answer something non-committal such as, “I’m not sure” and then wait for the officer to give the explanation. Do not argue with his reason, either remain silent or simply say “I see” or “I understand” in response. Remember, some police officers will strategically try to get you to either admit that you committed a traffic violation or that you were so careless or inattentive that you had no idea whether you did or not, so that they can use these admissions in court against you.

Tip #4: Comply With Legal Requirements

Officers have the authority to ask for your driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration in a routine traffic stop, therefore you are obligated to present these documents upon request. However, you are not legally required to give any additional verbal responses or grant them permission to search your car. If an officer orders you out of your car, you must comply but if they ask to look in your car, you can respectfully refuse.

Tip #5: Never Try To Bribe Or Argue With The Officer

As soon as you become aware that the officer has the intention of issuing a speeding ticket, remain calm and respectful. Never argue with the officer or persuade him/her to recant the citation as it is not only unethical, but also a crime. On that note, tickets are typically paid through the mail or online, attempting to pay the officer for a fine could be accidentally construed as a bribe.  

(Related Story: Roadsense: What Are The Consequences For Speeding In Singapore)

Were you ever pulled over? Share with us your experience in the comment section below!

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