If you're getting stopped by the cops, don't panic. Here's a simple procedure to follow to help make it quick and easy.

I've been pulled over a few times in my life. No matter what the situation is, I was always nervous. It's only natural. Plus, I'm never exactly sure what to do.

Well, if you're in the process of getting stopped, just stay calm and don't panic.

Here are a few suggestions on how to handle to situation thanks to the Illinois State Police Facebook page.

  • Slow down and safely pull over to the right-hand shoulder of the roadway. If there is no shoulder or it is too narrow to pull over, the driver should find the nearest safest location and pull over.
  • Do not slam on brakes or stop in the lane of traffic. Drivers should not stop on bridges, curves, next to guardrails, concrete walls, medians, or any place where it would be difficult for the other vehicles to pass. Don't park too close to the solid white line, as it may get struck by oncoming traffic.
  • Stay in the vehicle with both hands clearly in sight on the steering wheel. Drivers should keep their hands on the steering wheel until the police officer instructs them otherwise or the traffic stop is complete.
  • Be prepared for the officer to approach from either the driver or passenger side of the vehicle. 
  • Do not exit the vehicle unless asked to do so. Getting out of the vehicle can be perceived as aggressive behavior and a threat to the police officer's safety.
  • Comply with the officer's request to see a driver's license and proof of insurance. If these items are in the glove box, under the seat or if the proof of insurance is stored for display on a cell phone, the driver should inform the police officer of that and then follow directions before retrieving the information. Drivers are required to have a valid driver's license, registration, and insurance in order to operate a vehicle. 
  • If a driver cannot identify an unmarked police vehicle and/or the driver as law enforcement, he/she should drive slowly and carefully below the speed limit and either (1) pull over at a well-lit, populated location, (2) drive carefully to the nearest police station and attempt to attract the attention of a uniformed police officer or (3) call 9-1-1. A driver should also activate the vehicle's hazard lights as a helpful way to communicate intentions with the police officer.  
  • If drivers are stopped at night, it is acceptable for them to turn on the interior light of a vehicle.

Thank you to the Illinois State Police for this important information.

Store it in the back of your brain for next time you get pulled over. It will help make it a safe experience for you and the officer.

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