Whether you are in New Jersey or elsewhere in the nation, having a police officer ask you to pull over to the side of the road can be an unnerving experience. You might be aware of something you have done wrong, such as exceeding the speed limit or allowing a broken taillight to go unfixed. Perhaps you have no idea what the problem is. Whatever the specifics of the situation are, there are some tips to follow to ensure that the interaction between you and the officer does not escalate into an encounter that could put you in danger.
The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety’s “Safe Stop” initiative is a source of information and advice for the public to ensure that traffic stops don’t lead to, for example, out-of-control tempers or even physical violence. Staying calm, focused and cooperative can be important factors in helping you remain safe.
Tips on what to do
- Promptly pull your vehicle over to a safe area. Roll down the driver’s side window to make it easier to communicate with the officer.
- When the officer approaches your vehicle, keep both of your hands where they can be seen, maybe on the steering wheel. Avoid making sudden movements. You can also turn on the overhead light in the passenger cabin.
- Follow the officer’s requests. If he or she asks for documents such as your driver’s license or registration, simply produce them.
- If you are asked by the officer to exit your vehicle, do so.
- Don’t act aggressively or combatively even if you are upset or disagree with the reason you were stopped.
An experienced attorney can be a source of information if you believe that your rights were violated during a traffic stop.