Holiday Driving Tips: How to Play Nice When Suspected of Being Naughty

The holiday season signals good cheer…and more police officers on the road. If you see flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror this month, remember to play nice.

With more and more drivers on the road each holiday season, police officers are forced to amp up efforts to curtail risky driving behavior. Our holiday driving tips are the same as always: buckle up, use caution, stick to the rules of the road, and don’t drink and drive.

Related: Cops Tell All: The Top 4 Ways to Get Pulled Over

But if (Santa forbid!) an officer happens to suspect you of some other naughty driving practice and pulls you over, here are a few tips for safely navigating a stressful situation:

  1. Take a deep breath. Remain calm. It might be difficult to relax given the circumstances, but a calm demeanor and a friendly smile can make a difference. At the very least, a positive attitude can make the incident go more smoothly.
  2. Put on your hazard lights. This lets the police officer know that you’re planning to pull over.
  3. Pull over to a safe place as soon as possible. Generally, it’s recommended that you pull over to the right-hand side of the road, but if you’re on a busy street or highway, this may not be safe. Use good judgment and pull over only where it’s safe to do so.
  4. Stay in your car and wait for instructions. It may take a moment for the officer to get your license plate info before approaching you and providing instructions on what to do next. Be patient and wait calmly.
  5. Keep your hands visible. Keep your hands in plain sight (at 10 and 2 on the wheel) to signal that there’s nothing (literally or figuratively) up your sleeve.
  6. Provide info when asked. Make sure that you have your drivers license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance with you. (If you’re an Esurance customer, you can print copies of your insurance cards online whenever you want.)
  7. Don’t argue or pick fights. Whatever you do, don’t make things difficult for yourself or the police officer. You’ll generally get a better response if you’re polite and respectful. Remember, you’ll have your chance to fight the citation in court if you feel you’re in the right, but arguing with an officer is not likely to do you much good.
  8. Don’t admit guilt. By admitting guilt, you forfeit your right to contest the potential ticket in court. It’s no joke; anything you say could and might be used against you.

By being a safe, cautious driver, you can usually avoid being pulled over, but if you see blue lights in your rearview mirror, remember to stay calm and to play nice this holiday season.

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3 Responses to “Holiday Driving Tips: How to Play Nice When Suspected of Being Naughty”

  1. Rick
    December 11, 2014 #

    I was pulled over and the first question I asked the officer was if HE FELT SAFE WHERE WE WERE…… This went a long way to diffuse the situation and have the officer understand one of his concerns.

  2. Donald Ciaciuch
    December 13, 2014 #

    Add #9 to that list. "Never consent to a search of your vehicle or your person."

  3. Matt H
    December 16, 2014 #

    If the officer asks you "Do you know how fast you were going?" or "Do you know why I pulled you over?" Say "no" even if you do. Saying anything else could incriminate yourself.

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