CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Getting pulled over can be stressful and there are some “do’s and don’ts” to follow. When flashing lights appear in the rearview mirror, a police officer may be pulling you over for a traffic violation.
If you find yourself getting pulled over, there are some things you should do to keep you and the officer safe.
“Try and find a safe place to pull off the road where there is enough room to make an approach,” said Sgt. Brian Humphreys with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.
Once you are stopped and the officer is approaching…
“Whenever I approach I would like to see your hands are on the wheel at that point. We would like to know where your hands are that they are free of a weapon,” said Sgt. Humphreys.
When asked for your license and vehicle registration, make sure the officer is aware when you reach for these items.
“I don’t know if that is you reaching for your license as most people would be or if it’s you trying to access to a weapon you’ve got,” said Sgt. Humphreys.
Traffic stops often put officers in a potentially dangerous situation. So legal experts say clarity and compliance are the best ways to avoid conflict while stopped.
“Whatever the officer instructs you to, follow the officer’s instructions. He is doing it for his safety, and for your safety,” said Attorney David Hendrickson.
But if you do feel as though you are being unfairly or wrongfully stopped, Sergeant Brian Humphreys suggests…
“If you are afraid a police officer is going to violate your rights in any way, I would strongly encourage people to comply with the officer’s lawful demands,” said Sgt. Humphreys.
And if the officer does place you under arrest…
“They read you your rights called Miranda. What that says is you’re entitled to an attorney, you don’t have to answer questions, things like that. Usually, with a typical traffic stop, it doesn’t get that far,” said Hendrickson.
If you suspect you are being pulled over by someone who you feel may be impersonating a police officer, call 911 and they will tell you what you need to do.