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What should you do in a traffic stop?

No matter the circumstances, getting pulled over by the police is a stressful and frightening experience. 

There is no doubt that a traffic stop is overwhelming. And many people do not know what to do. Here are some critical tips to follow during a traffic stop.

1. Remain civil during the entire interaction

This might be the most difficult thing to do during a traffic stop—especially if the officer is aggressive. However, this tip may also be the most important.

Arguing with a police officer may provide a reason to escalate the situation. And that could potentially lead to additional charges, from resisting arrest to aggravated assault.

It can be helpful to:

  • Give short answers, if necessary
  • Allow the officer to do most of the talking
  • Choose your words carefully

Staying calm and polite can be challenging. However, it is critical to protect one's best interests.

2. Stay in the car, unless told otherwise

It is crucial for drivers to stay in the car with their hands on the steering wheel. Even passengers should remain in the car with their hands visible. 

This can prevent police officers from finding a reasonable cause to search the vehicle.

3. Understand the rights individuals have during a traffic stop

The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy outlines an individual's rights during any police stop. During a traffic stop, it is important for drivers and passengers alike to remember:

  • Their Fifth Amendment Rights, or their right to not answer questions that might incriminate them
  • Their right to deny the police the ability to search their vehicle
  • Their right to ask for the officer's information if they believe the officer is unfair
  • Their right to record the events of the traffic stop

So, if someone sees the flashing blue and red lights on the road behind them, it is beneficial to know these rights and put them to good use.

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