ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.
Here’s the first question Trooper Steve addressed this week: What should I, as a driver, do during the course of a traffic stop?
“Remember, the officer is stopping the car and not you,” Trooper Steve said. “Generally, the officer has no clue who they have stopped, just that they’ve observed a violation and are going to conduct a further investigation, which would lead to them identifying you after the stop is conducted.”
Trooper Steve said the driver should keep his or her seat belt fastened.
“This eliminates any argument about whether the seat belt was on or off and also keeps you from making any movements that could make it appear you are hiding or reaching for something,” he said.
“Be calm, be patient, wait for the officer to come to you, and do not get out of your car unless you are told to do so,” Trooper Steve said. “Once you’ve come to a stop, place your car in park, roll all windows down (if it is not raining), turn all interior lights on (during dark hours), activate your hazard lights and place your hands on your steering wheel and simply wait.”
The officer will instruct you to get your required paperwork, Trooper Steve said.
“You do not need to have this ready. Not having it ready for the officer prevents you from moving around prior to the officer approaching you and allows you to properly communicate with the officer if you need to inform them of anything before reaching anywhere,” he added. “This would prevent you from reaching into a compartment where you may have been storing a legally possessed firearm and creating a dangerous situation. Not having that paperwork and waiting for instructions would allow you to inform the officer that there is a weapon somewhere before you reached there.”
Trooper Steve said even if you disagree with the reason you were pulled over, you should remain calm.
“This is not a courtroom and, believe it or not, you are under a lawful detention,” he said. “Option 5 on your ticket explains how to later contest a ticket. The side of the road is not a place for this argument. Remember, traffic stops are some of the most dangerous situations for law enforcement. Staying calm keeps everyone safe.”
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