It’s easy to relate to the sinking feeling which accompanies being stopped for a routine traffic violation but, until recently, I never thought about what it’s like for the police officer.
During a conference I attended not too long ago, I had lunch with three veteran police officers, and the conversation turned to speeding violations and the like. If you’re like most people, as soon as you’ve parked on the side of the road, you immediately open the glove compartment to retrieve your owner’s card, or reach for your purse or wallet to produce your driver’s license.
This innocent attempt to be helpful might look quite different to the police officer who’s approaching the vehicle. To him or her, you could appear to be reaching for a gun or weapon.
Instead, it’s far better to:
- Open the windows on the driver’s side, both front and back, so the approaching officer easily can see inside your vehicle.
- Place both hands on top of the steering wheel and keep them there.
- Say something like, “I have my driver’s license in my wallet and the owner’s card in the glove compartment. Which would you like first?
By being respectful, cooperating fully, and demonstrating you’re aware of the dangers associated with approaching a vehicle on foot, maybe, just maybe, you’ll be given a warning instead of a fine!
However, as every police officer will tell you, none of this applies if you’re in an isolated area — especially at night. In that case, if a car with flashing lights signals for you to pull over, you should drive to a public, well-lit area before doing so.
For those who may not know: You can see re-runs of Forensic Files on HLN in the series they’ve called, “Mystery Detectives.”
And before you go, you might want to read two articles which describe Forensic Files as one of the top ten true crime shows: