What to Do During a Traffic Stop
Pre-Contact and Prevention Tips
There are some steps you can take to prevent a traffic stop from occurring. Some of the easiest are making sure all of your car’s equipment is working properly and that your registration is up to date. You can be stopped if your taillights are out, your license plates are expired, or your lights are not on.
Additionally, traffic violations give law enforcement a reason for a stop. These can include speeding, careless driving, or using your phone. The restrictions on phone use vary by state, so you should be aware of what these are where you live and anywhere you travel. You can also be stopped if you don’t signal before turning or changing lanes.
Even if you are driving carefully, it’s important to be prepared for a potential police encounter. Have your driver’s license and insurance information in an easily accessible area.
If You Are Stopped
Using the TurnSignl App
If you are pulled over and have the TurnSignl app, you should keep your phone mounted on the dashboard with the front-facing camera pointed towards the interaction. Do not hold your phone in your hands. Once you are parked on the side of the road, activate the app. This will contact an attorney who has been vetted by TurnSignl. They will be able to help you throughout the traffic stop and are trained to de-escalate the situation. Your phone will record and save a video of the encounter.
Whether you have the TurnSignl app or not, the following tips can help you during a traffic stop:
- When you are pulled over, take a deep breath and slow down. Focus on staying calm throughout the interaction.
- Calmly and politely ask why you are being stopped, but do not challenge the authority of the law enforcement officer.
- Carefully listen to the questions the officer asks you.
- Keep in mind that the police have likely run the license plates of your car before stopping you. If the vehicle is not yours, make sure to tell the officer who you borrowed it from.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel or in plain sight and don’t make any unnecessary body movements.
- Do not reach for any items unless you are told to do so. When getting your driver’s license and insurance information, let the office know where these are located and that you are going to get them.
What the Officer Will Look For
During the stop, the officer will be listening to your answers to their questions while also considering your speech pattern to determine if you are slurring. They will look into your eyes to see if they are bloodshot or glazed and will also examine the way you stand and walk to check for signs of intoxication. If anything within your car is in view, it could be used as grounds for a search. The smell of marijuana is also probable cause in many jurisdictions.
Be Safe and Be Empowered
With the TurnSignl app, you can have on-demand access to an attorney if you are stopped by the police. It’s only $9.99 each month and the app will also be made available to those who cannot afford it. We are currently available in Minnesota and will continue to expand to more states and cities.