Staying Alive during a Traffic Stop

Aug 8, 2019

We all dread the flashing emergency lights in our rear view mirror when the Police are signalling us to pull to the side of the road.

First, DON'T PANIC (unless you recently committed a crime, then only a good lawyer can help you)!

The moment you noticed the officer's vehicle emergency lights in your rear view mirror (and their vehicle will be very close), activate your turn signal and begin pulling to the shoulder of the road immediately. Even if you cannot pull off immediately because there is no safe location, by activating your turn signal, your are communicating with the officer your intentions of compliance. You are also putting the officer at ease.

Once you have pulled off to the side of the road, turn off your vehicle and place both hands on your steering wheel. If your have passengers, instruct your passengers, to place their hands on the dashboard or the seat in front of them. Again you are putting the officer at ease.

If you are stop at night, turn on your over head inside light to illuminate the interior and DON'T reach for your driver license or vehicle registration. Wait for the officer to approach the vehicle.

Roll down your driver side window and turn off the radio.

When the office approaches your vehicle, he will identify the reason for your the traffic stop. When the officer asks for your driver license and registration and you do not have them in hand, for example these documents are in the glove compartment or door pocket, tell the officer where they are and wait for the officer instructions to retrieve them. If you have a conceal carry permit, inform the officer and follow the officer's instructions.

While waiting for the officer, keep your movements at a minimum and always in view of the officer. You may call your emergency contact after the officer has return to their vehicle or ask permission to call. If you feel that you are being wrongfully targeted, call your attorney and have your attorney on speakerphone after you have stopped and turned off the engine. Inform the officer that your attorney is on the phone and can hear the entire conversation.

If you are a female traveling by herself, and the vehicle is an unmarked patrol vehicle (or appears to resemble an unmarked patrol vehicle), slow down, turn on your emergency signals aka flashers and dial 911 on your phone. Explain to the 911 operator there is a unmarked vehicle attempting to perform a traffic stop and you are afraid to stop but desire to remain in compliance. Ask the 911 operator, if the unmarked vehicle is official. Follow the 911 operator instructions and remain on the line even after the 911 operator has determined the traffic stop is safe.

At the conclusion of the traffic stop, there will be one of three outcomes: 1. you receive a warning and are free to proceed, 2. you receive a citation or ticket which will have instructions on how to proceed (read the instructions carefully and contact a licensed attorney, you can find licensed attorney's on or; or 3. you are arrested.

If you are arrested during a traffic stop, the officer must read your miranda rights. This is what you traditionally hear: "You have the right to remain silent, if you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. I your cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed. Do you understand your rights."

You should exercise you right to remain silent and contact attorney ASAP. You are not going home, regardless what else you tell the officer. The side of the road IS NOT the place to argue with the Police. The courtroom is reserved for the arguments. Follow the officer instructions while remaining quiet. Do not event talk to your friends, if they are with your and being arrested with you as you are being recorded. Let your attorney whether private or a public defender do their job.

Extra Tip: If you pass parked patrol vehicle and your 1000 or more feet down the road and you see the patrol vehicle pulling onto the highway with their emergencies on, and you are the only vehicle on the road. Mostly like your did something to provoke a traffic stop. Instead of waiting for the office to catch up to you, pull off the side of the road, with engine off, overhead interior light on (at night), window open, and wait for the officer to arrive. You put the officer at ease by not participating in their adrenaline rush for the chase.




Survival Revealed originally created as a pamplet in 1989 to help a person get back on their feet. Survival Revealed offers real life tips to survive life shortcomings and excel.