What to Expect When You’re Getting Pulled Over by the Police


It’s happened to nearly everyone who’s been on the road, sometimes more than once. Those flashing lights can be jarring, if not completely nerve-wracking. No matter what the reason is that you’re getting pulled over by the police, what you do next is crucial.

The good news is this: getting pulled over is extremely common. In fact, the police pull over roughly 50,000 drivers per day, so it’s pretty standard procedure. Still, when it ends up happening to you, it’s important that you handle it appropriately.

Keep reading to learn what to do when you’re pulled over by the police.

Put on Your Emergency Lights

The first thing to do when you’re getting pulled over by the police is to put on your emergency lights. This will communicate to the other drivers on the road that you will be slowing down and attempting to pull over. It will also signal to the officer that you are in compliance.

Find a Safe Place When You’re Getting Pulled Over by the Police

Once you’ve activated your emergency lights, the next step is to find a safe place to pull over. Keep in mind that both your vehicle and the officer’s will need to fit in the space.

If possible, it’s best to find a parking lot or side street so the officer can safely access your vehicle. If you’re on the highway or interstate, you may pull off to the right side provided there is enough space. Never park your car on the left side of the road, as this is illegal and potentially dangerous.

Shut off Your Engine

When you’re getting pulled over by the police, it’s important that don’t give the officer any reason to believe that you’ll try to get away. This is why you should shut off your ignition as soon as you’ve found a safe place to pull over.

Roll Down Your Window

Once both cars have stopped, the officer will emerge from the vehicle. Roll down your window to speak with him or her.

Be Calm and Respectful

Even if you don’t believe you should be getting pulled over by the police, it’s important to stay calm and be respectful. Listen patiently and don’t argue or act defensive.

Produce Documents Upon the Officer’s Request

After the officer has explained why you’re being pulled over, they will likely ask you for your driver’s license and insurance policy. This is where having the right documents in a safe place, such as your vehicle’s glove box, comes in handy.

Be sure to inform the officer where you will be reaching to retrieve the documents. Otherwise, they might think you are reaching for a weapon.

Wait for Instructions

The officer may issue a citation, or they may let you off with a warning. Either way, wait patiently and do not argue.

Drive Away Slowly

After the officer has returned to their vehicle, you are free to leave. Drive away carefully and slowly.

Getting Pulled Over

It’s never a pleasant experience to get pulled over by the police, but what you do can have a big impact on the outcome. Now that you know what to do, you’ll be prepared if it does happen.

For more topics, see our other articles.