4 Practical Tips To Help You Not Get Shot During A Traffic Stop

Traffic Cop

Preparing for the unpredictable

Other than responding to domestic fight calls, traffic stops are the most dangerous part of a cops job. This article is NOT about cops surviving a traffic stop.

It’s about YOU, John Q. Citizen!

I know what you’re thinking. Why is the Salty Sarge, the veteran cop, trying to teach me how to survive a traffic stop?

Because one life lost on either side is unacceptable.

Period.

Most of this is common sense.

No-brainer stuff.

I’m not talking about the career criminal bad-guy who doesn’t want to go back to jail. No, this article is meant for everyday folks who need to know what certain behaviors to absolutely avoid when pulled over by a cop.

And parents, please share this with your teen drivers!

 

1. When we light you up, pull over as soon as practical

Yes, we allow you a few seconds to get over your ego and denial that this is really happening.

Please do not continue on for 3 miles trying to find a lit parking lot or a safe spot to pull over. There are always exceptions but as a rule, pull over immediately.

It makes us nervous when you don’t.

Also, this is not the time to be making frantic movements when at first seeing our lights and hearing the customary womp, womp!

Please, these movements make us think you are hiding something or at worse, arming yourself.

See Also: ” The 10 Truths All Cops Know”

I also highly recommend that you put the cell phone down during a traffic stop.

There is nothing more irritating to a cop then when a driver is blathering away on their phone during a stop.

A phone can also look similar to a gun if the officers vision is compromised and your actions have already put him/her on high alert.

Before you start planning a protest march over that last statement remember we are talking about minimizing the risk here.

Oh, and we can see your best ninja moves trying to put your seat belt on while pulling over.

Nice try.

2. When we approach, relax and take a deep breath

***DO NOT, under any circumstance, get out of your car when pulled over on a traffic stop. Unless, of course, you have a warrant on file and plan on running from us.***

Put your hands where we can see them. Preferably on the steering wheel.

Remember, as police recruits in the academy, cops are drilled and shown endless videos of officers shot and killed on traffic stops.

We don’t know you.

And we have yet to see a video where a cop was killed by a drivers feet. (I’m sure its probably happened in Russia but lets stay on topic here)

If you have a gun (legally) in the vehicle, make sure you tell the cop this. Preferably in a relaxed manner at the beginning of the stop.

And please do not reach or lunge for the gun.

As Forrest Gump so eloquently pined, “that’s all I have to say about that”.

3. Follow our instructions during a traffic stop

Do not make furtive movements like reaching under your seat or digging through your center console during a traffic stop.

If you really have your license under your seat, tell the cop exactly what you are doing. Preferably before you do it.

Also, this is not the time for witty sarcasm or rhetorical questions like asking if we have anything better to do. Remember, our goal here is to keep our contact short and to the point.

This is not the time to antagonize a cop or belittle him or her with your charming sense of humor.

You can do that on Facebook.

4. Make it a positive experience

Getting pulled over by the cops is about as much fun as watching an episode of Real Housewives.

Believe it or not, cops have feelings and get nervous just like other humans when making contact with strangers.

 

What I am presenting here are common sense actions that cops want you to know.

I’m not a “traffic guy” like some of my fellow brothers and sisters in blue but I have made thousands of traffic stops in my career.

Being pulled over is not the end of the world or implies that you are a bad person.

It’s just a job that has to be done.

Your best bet is to be cooperative and attentive. Also, it never hurts to be friendly and humble during the traffic stop.

Who knows, you might get off with just a warning.

You May Like: “The Greatest Cop Story Ever Told”


You can find other ORIGINAL articles like this one and more at The Salty Sarge Facebook Page.

5 Comments

  1. LONG before the 70s — maybe early 50s — my dad said that if I were ever stopped by a police officer, “Go to him; don’t make him come to you”. Later on, some time in the ’90s I actually was stopped for running a red light. (I’d been looking at the clouds wondering if I’d get home before the rain poured down.) The officer wis kind enough to issue a quick warning so that I could beat the rain, but I had to ask him if my dad had been right. His answer: (and you know this, Salty) “No, ma’am. Just stay in your car with your hands on the steering wheel.”

  2. If one is legally armed, it’s my impression that informing the officer is best done in a deliberate, matter-of-fact way, avoiding use of the word “gun”, phrases like “I HAVE A GUN!”, and then awaiting further instruction from the officer.

    Someone I know was rear-ended and had a business suit on at the time. Their IWB holster didn’t work so well with the suit, so they had left the gun in the car while they exited to survey the damage. As they were standing there handing the trooper their driver’s license, they informed him that they had a CCW permit but weren’t armed at that moment, to which the trooper responded, only half-jokingly, “why NOT?!”

  3. During the few times I have been stopped I sit still keeping both hand at the 12 O’clock position on the steering wheel. When then officer approaches keeping my hands on the wheel I turn to the officer. I explain my wallet is in my left rear pocket and may I remove it to get my license. I also explain that the reg. and insurance card are in the glove box. It eliminates a lot of concern when the officer sees you fidgeting around to get your wallet. When I am armed I also explain that and ask how the officer wants me to proceed. I have never had an issue on a traffic stop

  4. Sarge, one thing I would add, which I tell my clients ALL the time…DO NOT argue with the cop about what you did/didn’t do, whether the cop is right or you’re right. Provide all information, Driver’s license, registration and insurance. Comply with his or her requests concerning movements in the car, where you’re hands are or aren’t (as you articulated). Be polite, not a jerk. If you can’t be polite, then simply keep your mouth shut. Sign ticket acknowledging receipt. The time to argue about who is right and who is wrong is in COURT, not on the street. Plus, in my primary jurisdiction, first question out of any judge’s mouth in court is “Officer/Deputy__, was the Defendant cooperative during the stop?” If the cop has a blank look on his or her face, you good. If his or her mouth opens and says anything more than “yes,” generally, you are screwed (max fines, points and any other penalties apply). So far, everyone’s taken that free bit of advice.

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