Getting pulled over by the police in the UK is very much safer than it is in the US – there’s virtually no risk of being shot or tasered, for a start. This relative safety, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious and sensible when dealing with these interactions, as you could still land yourself in hot water.
Here’s how you get pulled over in – well, not in style – but in the best way you can.
Only pull over when it’s safe to do so
The police won’t expect you to suddenly pull over if it’s not safe, so carry on driving calmly until you find a safe spot. Make it clear to the officers that you’ve seen them and are willing to comply – nod, or flash an indicator a couple of times and maybe even slow down a notch.
Stay inside your car
Your first instinct after pulling over may be to get out of your car to meet the officers, but it’s actually best if you stay in it and turn off the engine. This shows the officers that you’re willing to comply and aren’t about to drive or run off.
You should also turn on your inside lights and roll your window down so the officers know there’s no concealed weapon or evidence – even if you know you’re a law-abiding citizen, they don’t know that yet. A traffic stop is one of the more dangerous duties for the police, so they’re right to be cautious.
If you start off with aggression, you’ll just make things worse – you may have been pulled over because your rear light has given out – don’t make them arrest you for threatening behaviour!
Talk to the officers – no, you weren’t aware the light was broken and you’re grateful for the advice and you’ll attend to it ASAP. Give your name and address if requested; the officers are looking out for your safety and want to let you go on your way.
If you’re pulled over, breathalysed and you fail the test, don’t panic. If you’re surprised by the reading, it’s OK to let the police know as long as you remain courteous.Comply fully and engage the services of drinkdrivesolicitor, as the only place to argue your case is in court when all the facts and evidence are in.
If you’re not sure the car is genuine
While the police do drive unmarked cars, the officers must wear full uniform if they pull you over. If you’re not sure whether an unmarked car is genuine when it asks you to stop, let the driver know that you’ve seen the request, slow down and then pull into the nearest petrol station. Petrol stations are well-lit and have CCTV as well, which will deter any would-be attackers.
Once you’ve stopped, keep your window closed and ask to see their ID – genuine officers will understand your caution and will probably commend it.
Driving away again
Whatever the outcome of the stop, you may feel shaken up, so don’t just set off; wait until you’re feeling calmer before you start up the engine again.