ASERT does not offer crisis services through our Resource Center. If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health distress or thoughts of suicide please call or text 988 for support.
Getting pulled over by a police officer can be a pretty scary thing. Your first reaction may be to panic. Following a few steps and understanding some basic rules can help make the situation less stressful. Below are several steps you should follow when being pulled over by a police officer:
Do not panic and never try to flee from the police! Most traffic stops are for things like driving over the speed limit or driving through a red light. This may lead to a warning or a fine. Trying to outrun the police will lead to bigger trouble.
Slow down and put your right turn signal on. This can show the officer that you know that you need to pull over but may need to find a safe place to do so.
Pull over to a safe area as soon as possible on the right side of the road. Safe areas include those with a wide shoulder, well-lit side streets, and parking lots.
Turn off the engine and roll down your driver’s side window. If it is dark outside, turn on an inside light.
Stay inside the car.
Stay calm and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Let the officer talk first. It is okay to ask the officer why the officer pulled you over if you do not know.
Be polite and respectful. Do not argue even if you think you should not have been pulled over. This will only make the situation worse.
The officer will ask for your driver’s license and vehicle registration paper. He may also ask for proof of your car insurance. You should always know where these items are in your car. If your driver’s license is in the backseat or on the floor, let the officer know that you need to turn around or lean over far to get it.
If you do not understand something the officer says, it is okay to tell the officer that you do not understand.
If you do get a ticket, you may be asked to sign it. Do not sign any paper unless you know what it means.
Only drive away when the officer says it is okay to go and gives you back your driver’s license and vehicle registration.
When you drive away, be careful merging back into traffic.
For a social story on traffic stops, See the ASERT Traffic Stop Social Stories.
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.