Ask Trooper Steve: How do I respond to an unmarked vehicle with emergency lights on?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

Trooper Steve answers a viewer's question.

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Trooper Steve answered the question, “If an unmarked vehicle is coming up behind me with blue lights flashing how should I respond? Should someone call 911 to report this type of behavior or verify the vehicle?”

He said he drove an unmarked vehicle for almost 2 years and can understand some people’s curiosity with something like this.

[TRENDING: Family of teen who died in fall from Orlando thrill ride to file lawsuit in Orange County | 14-year-old, 16-year-old boys killed in Osceola County crash | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

“First, if you see a vehicle coming up behind you with emergency lights flashing — whether marked or unmarked — a driver should yield right of way no matter the situation. It is not your job to verify whether or not this vehicle is doing what it supposed to be doing during the course of its travel,” he said. “If a vehicle shows audible and/or visual signs that it is responding in an emergency mode you’re only requirement would be to move out of the way of that vehicle.”

Trooper Steve said if the vehicle is attempting a traffic stop on you, you have to be aware that most traffic enforcement vehicles that happen to be unmarked have an excess amount of emergency lights equipped on them.

“You will not find some random Toyota Corolla with a single flashing light on the dash conducting proactive traffic enforcement within any area of Central Florida. Also, if an officer is in an unmarked vehicle doing traffic enforcement, they will be in a full police uniform,” he said.

If you find yourself in the situation and want to be extra careful, he suggests finding a heavily populated area to pull over your vehicle. These areas can include any gas station, shopping center or large grocery store.

After you’ve stopped and you want to verify the traffic stop, Trooper Steve said you can contact your local police agency or dial 911 if the situation arises to your level of concern.

“Keep in mind making the choice to simply not stop because you feel this may not be a police officer is not the right thing to do. It is very rare that someone is out in an unmarked vehicle impersonating law enforcement. I am not saying that it does not happen, but what I am saying is that this does not happen enough to ignore unmarked police vehicles,” he said.

About the Authors:

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.