ORLANDO, Fla. - You're cruising down the road and suddenly it's coming up quick behind you. Then, the red and blue lights turn on and you're a nervous mess.
A traffic stop can be pretty stressful and believe me when I tell you, I have seen every reaction in the book, from a total meltdown to the most disrespectful people. Most of the time here in Central Florida, I was met with an abundance of smiles and professionalism.
But what should you being doing during the initial stages of a traffic stop? First and foremost stay calm; panicking never helps any situation.
Find a good place to pull over and do not stop directly in a travel lane unless the officer specifically instructs you to do so. Pulling into a parking lot, roadway shoulder or side street is always preferred.
Once you have found that safe spot, go ahead and turn off your radio, activate your hazard lights and roll down all your windows. If it's at night, turn on your interior dome light as well.
Now that you're stopped and waiting for the officer, do just that: wait. Do not start reaching for things in the car that you think they are going to want and prevent any erratic movements. The officer will instruct you what they want you to do and when they want you to retrieve it.
Listen, although traffic stops are an everyday thing for law enforcement officers, it is still one of the most deadly things they will do. Stay cool, listen intently, follow instructions to the T and the whole traffic stop stays safe for everyone involved.
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