How should you react if you are suddenly pulled over by a police vehicle? Should you stay in your car or should you get out? Here is how you must respond to such a situation.
Who says that the Indian traffic rules aren’t stringent? It’s true that there isn’t much discipline and system followed on Indian roads by some motorists but that doesn’t mean you too should take it for granted. You may assume that the traffic police isn’t around so it’s alright to break one traffic signal and escape. But, you never know when the traffic hawaldar could suddenly appear on the scene and ask you to pull over.
Regardless of whether you are at fault or not, interacting with the traffic police is definitely a nerve-racking experience. If at all you are pulled over and have to face them, here is how to make your interaction little more pleasant and less problematic.
Pull Over When it's Safe
Stay calm. Don’t be a bundle of nerves and end up slamming your brakes. Try to assess the situation. The traffic police officer may probably use gestures or blow a whistle to make it clear if he wants you to pull over and stop as opposed to letting you get past him.
Look around for vehicles speeding on other lanes and then gradually pull over. You don’t have to haphazardly rush into that. Pulling over in a panic state-of-mind may just call for an accident. And that's the last thing you need in such a situation.
Be Calm Inside Your Car
Once you have pulled over to the side, you may be nervous and tempted to get out of the car trying to reason out with the officer as to what went wrong. Do NOT do that! Sit quietly inside your car. Turn off the engine of your vehicle to subtly pacify the police officer that you will co-operate with him and not speed away.
You can roll down the windows just to let him know that you are innocent and aren’t hiding anything in your vehicle (weapon, drugs, etc.).
The traffic police will always be on guard and deals with hundreds of motorists on a daily basis. Being pulled over by them may not always mean that you’re in trouble. They could ask you to pull over just to inform you that your indicator bulb or brake has blown. Sometimes, they may just perform random checks of all the necessary documents that you should always carry with you in the car. If they ask you to show your driving license, car insurance papers, vehicle registration papers, or PUC papers, be polite and hand it over to them.
Remember that they are just humans. So, you have to be polite and respectful. If you are going to be rude and aggressive, then your experience with them would be a different one altogether.
Be open and honest while you’re trying to explain. Don’t hesitate to apologize if necessary. Don’t argue on the road as it would just worsen a disastrous situation and the traffic policeman may not change his mind.
No one likes unnecessary work, so if you haven’t committed a grave offence, you may be just left with a warning rather than a written fine ticket. If you are asked to give your name and address, do not refuse to give it to him.
If you are travelling alone late at night and are asked to pull over and perhaps aren’t sure if the person is a genuine traffic policeman, you could pull over at a well-lit place or the first petrol station you see. Ask him for his warrant card before engaging with him further.
Leave the Scene in Peace
No one likes to come under the police radar while driving. Even the most seasoned driver would be a bit shaky after being stopped. This is natural and unavoidable. Once the policeman leaves, take deep breaths, have a few sips of water and regain composure before pulling away safely.
Even though it may be embarrassing and awkward, always remember the above points and don’t lose your mind if ever stopped by the traffic police. :)