As you learn to drive and join the world of the road there are a few things you must know in order to survive it. For some reason most people don't talk about the proper way to dealing with police officers, its just not a common topic among people, you learn how to drive, you take the test but when it comes to proper "pull over" etiquette there are almost no lessons ever given, thus the importance of this post. Recently I've seen this come to light more than just a few times, thus prompting me to write this post, the steps here are not a rule, or a uniform "you must do things this way" type deal, but these are helpful insights that might make the whole experience go better for you and aid you in avoiding a few tickets, or God forbid, jail time.
A very simple first step that you should take is to organize your glove box, don't just throw random papers in there but keep it organized in order to not waste your time or the officer's time. The best way I've found is to keep two envelopes in there at all times, one containing your insurance and registration and the other containing your car check-up history. The first will make it easier for when you eventually get pulled over and the other will come in handy when your car breaks down, trust that doing so might save you tons of cash. After you have labeled both envelopes it doesn't really matter what else you keep in the glove box, personally I try to keep it clean, it just sends the right message when police officers pull you over, it shows you are a responsible adult, keeping the car clean helps you in the same way.
Take a deep breath now and realize this, you will eventually be pulled over and most likely you will receive at least one ticket in your lifetime this is just how the world of the road works, there is no escaping it. After you have realized this fact everything else will fall into place, so don't be nervous, relax your muscles and just be honest with the officer. Honesty is important, officers deal with people lying to them every day, day in and day out people feed them lies and so they know the signs to watch out for, the best policy here is to be honest with them for they can spot a lie, this will show that you respect his or her authority and will get you in the officer's good side (please use discretion when being honest, don't lie but don't be naive). So when you eventually get pulled over take a deep breath, count to ten and prepare yourself for what is coming.
Here is where there are no definite rules as to the "overarching definite true answer" as to how to go about doing this but I feel that the steps we're about to go over are the best ones and will possibly aid you in not getting a ticket. When you find yourself being pulled over the first thing you should know is that you should pull over to the right side of the road, parking lots are a great idea as well, this will show that you care about the safety of the officer that is about to approach your car thus enforcing his respect for you. After you have placed your car in park you should lower every window in your car, this will show that you have nothing to hide, it will secure the idea within his mind that you're a good driver and that you are not being shady.
The next step is small but crucial, the officer is always dealing with crazy people thus he will be on alert as to what you are doing with your hands, so after you have lowered all your windows place your hands in front of your steering wheel and wait for him to approach your car. The reason for him taking his time coming to your car is that he is watching you to see what you are going to do, most people that are doing wrong things will panic and start hiding things, which just proves one's guilt even more, so where you put your hands is very important as to how the officer will react to you as he approaches your car. An important advice to remember is that the officer deals with crazy people all day so he'll be on alert, for your safety and the officer's safety the more you assure him that you are not one of these crazies the better.
An important step that most people forget is that you should not make any sudden movements and that you should announce what you are about to do before you do it, here is what I mean, the officer comes to your door and asks for your license, while your hand is propped on the wheel look at him and say "yes sir, it's in my wallet" and slowly reach for it, this will keep him from thinking that you're reaching for something you are not (like a gun or knife). When he asks for your registration and insurance you should always ask "it's in my glove box, my I reach for it?" this will again re-affirm to the officer that he is safe and therefore you will be safe, also it'll demonstrate respect. Once he has seen your information you should answer his questions honestly and allow him to go through the process of going to his car and running your license.
While he is at his car you should place your hands on the wheel again so he can see that you are not doing anything suspicious, and wait patiently for him to come back to your car. Regardless of what he gives you, a warning, a ticket, you should always thank him, apologize and do as instructed, affirming that you respect the officer is the most important step in the whole process, most people disrespect him so be the one that shows a real respect for authority, in the long run this will pay off big time. After you receive your warning or ticket you should always wait for the officer to get back in his car before taking off and use your blinkers as you get back on the road, this will again re-enforce the fact that you are a good person and will again ensure the officer that you are not of of the crazies he has to deal with.
Again these steps might aid you in not getting a ticket, but there is no full proof plan as to how to avoid tickets, you will eventually get one and it'll ruin your day, start preparing for it now. Following these steps will just aid you in establishing respect between you and the officer, which will ensure your safety and the officer's safety. On Wednesday we'll be talking about part 2 of this whole process, the second post will be life lessons I can share on what to do when all goes wrong, from arrest to having a jerk officer come to your window, hopefully these two posts will help some of you to avoid getting tickets and having a bad time with police officers. Again these are not concrete rules, but good guidelines that might aid you.
Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and pray that this week might be a good one for you,
Love from your humble blogger,