WHAT NOT TO SAY WHEN PULLED OVER BY A COP
The hard truth: Respect authority. If you don't, you increase the odds of a pricey ticket.
Police officers are not out to make your life miserable, but to make sure you're following the rules of the road and not endangering yourself or those around you.
~~ Play Nice
First rule: don't argue.
According to Karen Rittorno, a nine-year veteran with the Chicago Police Department: "If they try to take charge of the traffic stop, they're not going to get out of it without a ticket. We ask the questions, not them."
Accept that the police have caught you doing something that's against the law, such as speeding or gliding through a stop sign.
To argue with cops is akin to calling them idiots. Don't do that. Another cop says, "That's implying that I pulled you over for no reason and that bothers me."
~~ Keep It Honest
Don't lie, either. Cops are trained to note the human characteristics of lying, including twitching and looking to the left, and they know the right questions to ask to suss out the truth.
One cop estimates nine out of 10 people lie to him. "It's an attack on our intelligence."
Moreover, the truth can set you free. A cop recalled an incident when he pulled a young guy over for speeding. He told the cop: "'You know, officer, I wasn't even paying attention. I just had the best date of my life. I just met my future bride. I'm just on cloud nine right now.'
The cops says: "The guy was completely serious... How are you going to write that guy up after that? Who makes that kind of stuff up?"
Of course, don't use pejoratives when addressing the police, unless you're eager for a ticket. But other words may backfire, too. Cops "hate being called 'baby' or 'sweetheart.' I'm 'officer' to you.''
The police don't like being talked over, either. "Be polite. You have your rights as a citizen, too, but it doesn't do you any good to talk while he's talking."
~~ Stay Calm
When those headlights go on, it's best to pull the car to the right, stay in the car, turn the interior lights on if it's dark and put your hands on the steering wheel.
Don't make any quick movements, and don't turn to grab your purse or put your hands in your pocket or under your seat to retrieve your license -- until the officer instructs you to. Then, do it slowly.
Don't move to open the glove box either, until directed. And do that slowly, too. Let the police shine a light inside the box before you reach in. Many criminals hide guns in glove boxes.
PLUS: Don't boast about who you know, either. That can infuriate cops. They consider it a veiled threat to their livelihoods. Fortunately, most municipalities have laws in place to insure that an officer is not fired or reprimanded for ticketing, say, the mayor's daughter.
Finally, never try to buy off a cop. Cops "love making those arrests."