How To Be A Person: What To Do If You Get Pulled Over

On our way back from Kenyon, fellow Thrill writers Sarah Morgan Cohen-Smith ’14 and Mary Alice Jackson ’15, as well as Sarah Frantz ’15, got pulled over. For me, this was the first time this had ever happened, so I cowered in the corner of the back seat and provided absolutely no help. As everything was going down, it occurred to me that if this had ever happened while I was driving alone, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts, based on our experience.

DO: Pull over to the right slowly and carefully.

DO NOT: Shout “FUCK” at the top of your lungs so that the police officer might hear.

DO: Wait for the officer to approach and give your license and registration when asked.

DO NOT: Frantically contemplate how to best get out of the situation: “Should we cry? Should we get naked? Should we all get naked and cry????”

DO: Answer all the questions calmly and truthfully, especially if you know you’re in the wrong (we’re just trying not to get arrested here, not to get out of a ticket. We’ll save that for another post).

DO: Leave first. When everything is over and you’ve reaction to the initial shock of a $140 ticket, pull yourself together and leave. Make sure you do this slowly and responsibly because you’re not exactly going to get the benefit of the doubt if you screw this part up.

DO NOT: Sit in the car for five more minutes playing the drive-away version of “no you hang up first.” Just leave. You still have four more hours to drive.


5 responses

  1. Also, DO NOT: Let them consider anything you do or say as consent to search your vehicle.

    DO: Make the above clear as politely as possible. If they intend to search anyway, make your refusal to consent clear but do not do anything to physically obstruct them in any way, shape, or form.

    • There is only one state in the US that I know of where officers have the lawful ability to search your vehicle without your permission. Always state that you do not give consent if they ask. Know your rights!

      What I mean is… this, yes yes! I agree!

  2. I have family who are cops, and here’s what to REALLY do–when driving, always keep your wallet handy & know where your license, reg and proof of insurance are. If stopped–signal, pull over, lower driver’s side window, PUT BOTH HANDS ON THE STEERING WHEEL WHERE THEY ARE VISIBLE, have your wallet in your hands, and hand over your ID when asked. Say little. Most cop injuries happen during traffic stops; statistically, it’s the most dangerous thing they do. By keeping your hands visible you are showing them you know this. It protects you and them. PS I’ve done this many times (I’m a fast driver) and have NEVER gotten a ticket when I do it this way. Peace.

  3. Pingback: Being a Person: How to Replace a Tire | The Thrill

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