Traffic stops are a typical part of policing roadways.
In every state, police can only pull you over if they have a reason. Nearly everyone gets pulled over at some point in their lives, and you should know your rights when it happens to you.
What should you do during a traffic stop?
During a routine traffic stop, the police will inform you of the reason for pulling you over and ask for your driver’s license and proof of insurance and vehicle registration.
First, slow down and quickly find a safe spot to pull over. Roll down your window and place your hands on the steering wheel. Try to remain polite, even with an aggressive officer. Wait for the officer to approach before your reach for any documentation and be sure to turn on the interior light if pulled over at night. Also, avoid moving suspiciously, such as dipping down like you hid something under the seat.
What are your rights?
If you see the flashing lights behind your car, you would benefit from knowing your rights during a traffic stop. These include:
- The right to drive slowly until you find a safe place to pull off the road
- The right to remain in your vehicle
- The right to refuse chemical and field sobriety testing
- The right to refuse a search of your vehicle
For some of these, such as refusing DUI testing, you can face consequences. Additionally, you can refuse to step out of your vehicle, but if an officer asks you to step out for safety, you should probably do so.
Most traffic stops end in a warning or a ticket rather than an arrest and charges.