When those blue lights start flashing in your rear view for the first time, you likely have a whole range of thoughts and emotions going through your head. After all, this wasn’t quite part of your driver’s ed curriculum. When facing traffic stops, it helps to know the different ways in which you can make everything move smoothly. Not to mention, the things you can do to potentially minimize the penalties you drive away with.

Traffic Stops: Getting Pulled and Minimizing Penalty

Getting off the road

Once you see a police officer behind you with his lights on, it’s time to pull over quickly, but safely. The sooner you pull over, the sooner you can figure out what the officer’s reasons are. Plus, it shows you’re aware of what’s going on around you.

Make sure to use your turn signal if you have to get over to let the officer know your intentions. Also, gradually slow down so the officer doesn’t risk hitting your car. No one likes it when traffic stops turn into accidents. When you’re pulling over, try and get as far from the road as you can so the officer won’t have to worry about being hit by other cars.

Once you’re stopped

After you stop, it helps to turn off your engine. This helps the officer not worry about you trying to speed off when they step out of their car. You should also turn on your interior light if it’s dark out to help the officer see.

There are a few other courtesies you can take as well. Roll your window all the way down and keep your hands on the steering wheel. If you’re moving around a lot in your car, the officer might think you’re looking for a weapon. Traffic stops go much more smoothly when you just wait and let the officer come to you.

Talking to the officer

How you talk to the officer goes a long way in determining how well traffic stops go. Being rude or angry with the officer can lead you right into getting a ticket when you might’ve only gotten a warning. Or, potentially lessening charges. Instead, it’s better to be polite and straightforward with them.

Answer whatever questions the officer might ask as best you can. Give them whatever documents they ask for and avoid arguing. More often than not, being polite and helpful can help you avoid a ticket. Traffic stops can be unnerving, but keeping your cool might go a long way.