A knot of dread forms in your stomach when you see those telltale flashing lights behind you: it’s the police, and you’re getting a ticket. Sure, going 55 in a 50 doesn’t sound like a big deal, but those with a history of speeding know most cops don’t play around when it comes to writing tickets — even for first-time offenders.
Fortunately, if you ever find yourself on the side of the road with an angry officer breathing down your neck, these tips for getting pulled over will have you back on the highway in no time. And who knows: these simple rules may actually get you off easy!
1. Sign the Ticket: No, signing your ticket isn’t the equivalent of admitting guilt: it’s simply an acknowledgment that you were present when the violation occurred. You could try refusing, but there’s a good chance it won’t be the only ticket you’re asked to sign that day.
2. Roll Down the Window Beforehand: When it comes to playing it safe while pulled over, making sure your hands are visible and away from the car door is a must. Sure, the only thing most of us keep in our door compartment is an old water bottle or a few napkins, but better safe than sorry.
3. Stay in the Car: Whatever reason you think you have for getting out of the car, you’re wrong. The officer doesn’t want to see your new shoes or see how many push-ups you can do, and they absolutely don’t want to dance battle. Unless you’re told otherwise, stay in the car.
Reddit / Pathosis
4. Always Use Your Turn Signal: The sight of flashing lights behind you will probably make it hard to think about anything else, but you should always remember to use your blinker when pulling over. You’re already in enough trouble: why cut someone off and get on two bad sides?
5. No Frantic Movements: Though being pulled over is definitely intimidating, the officer is just as concerned with their own safety as you are. A slight drop of the shoulders or any sudden movements may make the officer think you’re trying to hide something… or even reaching for a weapon.
6. Wait to Be Asked For Papers: Having your license and registration out and ready for the officer might seem like a good idea on paper, but the second they see you reaching toward your glove compartment they’ll assume you’re going for a weapon. Besides, do you really want the cop to see your awful license photo so soon?
7. Never Admit Guilt: Being honest might’ve spared you from the time-out corner in kindergarten, but ‘fessing up to a moving violation won’t get you the same leniency. Cops are required to record every interaction they have while on duty, so if you ever try to fight the ticket they can easily pull up the video of your confession.
Skagit Valley Herald
8. Pull Back Into Traffic Cautiously: When all is said and done, you’ll probably do one of two things after getting a ticket: cry, or immediately try to put as much distance between you and the cop as possible. If you go for the latter, make sure you do so cautiously or else you may be seeing that officer again real soon.
9. Turn on Your Car Light: This tip really only applies at night, but allowing the officer a transparent look inside your vehicle regardless of the time of day shows them you have nothing to hide. Of course, if you pull away and continue driving with the light on they’ll probably stop you again for being an absolute lunatic.
10. Don’t Let Passengers Interject: We all have that friend who loves to start trouble, but it’s probably not a good idea to offer them a ride if you’re a frequent speeder. One snarky comment from your passenger and suddenly you’re the one in handcuffs.
11. Turn Down Your Music: Keeping your music on while being pulled over is a major sign of disrespect, and the ticketing officer will definitely not go easy on you. Even if they look like they’d enjoy a nice ’80s playlist, it’s best to keep “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” to yourself.
12. Keep Both Hands on the Wheel: It turns out that your parents were onto something when they were screaming “ten and two!” while teaching you to drive. Keep both hands on the wheel, where the officer can see them, and in the event they ask you to do something, make sure to return them to this position immediately afterward.
BC Driving Blog
13. Be Respectful: You know that old philosophy that being rude and aggressive is the best way to get what you want? Yeah, it doesn’t work. Being respectful only lessens the odds of making the officer angry…
14. Turn Your Hazards on if You Can’t Pull Over: Instead of swerving through traffic and causing a ten-car pileup, turn your hazards on if you find you can’t immediately pull over. It’ll also help you avoid a high-speed chase if the officer thinks you’re trying to outrun them.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
15. Give Direct Answers: Being ambiguous and indifferent might’ve worked during your high school goth phase, but that kind of attitude won’t fly while being ticketed. Give the officer short, specific answers.
16. Let The Officer Speak First: It may seem wise to make the first move when it comes to defusing the tension that comes with being pulled over, but any hint of defensiveness will automatically make you even more suspicious. Just flash the officer those pearly whites and maybe they’ll let you off easy.
17. Don’t Keep Cash On Hand: Well, not a lot of it, anyway. Some states have strict civil forfeiture laws that allow officers to confiscate large amounts of cash, meaning that if you’re looking to stock up on lotto tickets for the next big Powerball, you’re better off using a debit card.
18. Don’t Allow a Car Search: Unless the officer has probable cause, it’s illegal to conduct a search of a vehicle without a warrant. Sure, declining the search may sound like something a guilty person would do, but you don’t want to risk someone finding that stash of Nickelback CDs you keep under the seat.
19. Never Admit to Drinking: Even if it was only a little sip, never tell an officer you’ve been drinking. Not only will your chances of appealing the ticket go out the window, but the ticketing officer may even wind up arresting you.
Nashville Criminal Law Court
20. Know Your Rights: Of all the things you can do to prepare for being pulled over, knowing your rights is easily the most important. Not only will this allow you to assess the situation calmly when confronted by an officer, but it will also prevent you from being taken advantage of.
At the same time, the police themselves have plenty of safety tips for citizens. They hate seeing people make the same old mistakes when it comes to home safety, as these common errors are basically invitations for burglars to ransack your home.
Incase / Flickr
1. Houses left empty: Most people picture home invaders sneaking in at night, while everyone is sound asleep, and carefully snagging expensive items. However, this usually isn’t how robberies go down.
Trying to sneak around without making a sound is nearly impossible, so it’s much easier to explore someone’s empty house during the day while people are at work. Leaving a home empty for long periods of time is exactly what burglars want.
2. Doors and windows left unlocked: This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t actually lock every door before they leave their home. But, the people who do lock up before they leave tend to forget about another important entryway.
When someone wants to break into your home, they’re also looking at windows as a point of entry. Many people lock doors but completely forget about making sure their windows are sealed.
3. Mail accumulates: We all get mail. Some of us are good about checking our mailboxes every day, but others tend to let letters accumulate, especially when they’re on vacation. This accumulation of mail is a red flag for burglars.
They see a pile of mail as a sign a homeowner has been away for some time, which means a vacant house and unguarded possessions. Always have a neighbor take in your mail if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time.
4. Having low-walled backyards: Trying to break in through the front door of a house, especially in the daytime, is a risk most burglars aren’t willing to take. So, it’s the back doors that are the most enticing, and properties with low walls are the easiest targets.
Of course, not everyone has the money to renovate their backyard and give it high protective walls, but sometimes even just planting bushes that loom over is enough to deter a potential invader. They want the most problem-free home possible.
5. Having a window air conditioning unit: During the dog days of summer, these window units are obviously extremely useful, but they also mean an easy entrance for burglars. One swift kick is all it takes to knock it out of the window and hop inside the home.
So, what can you do about it? Having central air ensures you can lock all your windows while keeping your home cool, but it is a rather expensive option. However, it’s not as expensive as having to replace all your valuables if you get robbed.
6. You personally know a thief (without actually knowing they’re one): It might come as a surprise, but most people who commit burglaries personally know the victim. So, keep a close watch on any unsavory characters you think might have something against you.
7. Displaying expensive items in windows: It’s natural to want to flaunt fancy items you own to let everyone know you’re financially successful, but it’s also an indication to every burglar your home is full of riches. And that’s exactly what they’re looking for.
Even if you have expensive possessions, don’t display them blatantly in windows unless you want to appeal to a thief. Stay modest, instead, and keep those fancy things out of view behind closed doors.
8. Your home’s in a convenient location: While it might seem like an apartment complex would be the ideal location for a robbery because there are so many options to choose from, it’s actually the other way around.
If you live in a remote location, burglars know the chance of anyone seeing them enter and leave is so much smaller. Homes near wooded areas or highways make for a quick-and-easy getaway.
9. Leaving garage doors open: Accidentally leaving a garage door open overnight is easier than it sounds, and it’s a one-way ticket to home invader town. Set a reminder if you need to so you never leave an entrance that big open for anyone to sneak in.
10. You lack an alarm system: As sneaky as a home invader can be, chances are, once an alarm begins to sound, they’re going to get out as quickly as possible. Some systems are even silent, so the burglar has no idea the police are on their way, ready to make an arrest.
11. You’re not a dog owner: Some people just aren’t into owning pets, and that’s totally fine. But, having a dog around who can bark their heads off and wake up homeowners is definitely a deterrent. Burglars don’t want any attention drawn to them.
12. Being a careless homeowner overall: A thief is going to make sure their home target is as easy to get in and out of as possible. So, keep spare keys hidden, lock everything up, and don’t let your home leave a burglar licking his lips with excitement for his next batch of free stuff.
No one ever wants to experience the helpless feeling of a home invasion. Ensuring your home doesn’t appeal to burglars isn’t always easy, but these next tips will certainly help!
1. Reinforce your existing door jam: Even though you might think your current jam is enough, it can never hurt to add to it so intruders have the most difficult time possible entering. Stop them in their tracks.
The Family Handyman
2. Use SimLock to strengthen your deadbolt: Although deadbolts do a pretty good job of keeping doors closed, crafty burglars will always find ways to get through them. Use this as an extra level of protection.
The Family Handyman
3. Use the Door Guardian on sliding doors: A lot of people might use wooden poles to brace sliding doors closed, but they’re not as efficient as this tool. Doors won’t even budge when it’s in place.
4. Use portable alarms: If you’re worried about vulnerable points of entry like windows, these handy little alarms work perfectly. Intruders like to access windows because it’s doors that usually have the alarms, so these catch them off guard.
The Family Handyman
5. Bolster your garage door: Burglars will often look to garages for points of entry since many of them are off to the side of the house and offer a quieter way in. Don’t take any chances and reinforce the door with planks of wood.
The Family Handyman
6. Lock up your most valuable stuff in a safe: Sure, you might have a drawer with a lock on it or a secret area in your closet where you hide all your valuables, but nothing beats a safe. It’s nearly impenetrable, and without the combination, no one is getting in.
7. Keep emergency keys in an outdoor lock box: Most of us carry our keys on us at all times, but what happens if you accidentally lose them? Having a spare set of keys is vital, but they’re only useful if protected in a lock box.
8. Invest in a wide-angle peephole: To get a better look at who comes to your door, think about installing a wider peephole. Criminals will often duck to one side of the door so they’re not seen when the homeowner checks.
9. Buy a privacy-enabled mailbox: Rummaging through mail that isn’t addressed to you is a crime, but that doesn’t stop some people. Keep your personal correspondence personal and lock up your stuff in one of these.
10. Motion detection sensors: If you own big property, it’s nearly impossible to keep an eye on every square foot of it at once. By setting up motion detectors, you’ll be alerted when there’s any movement nearby.
11. Get a keychain garage opener: The keypad garage openers that are attached to the wall serve their purpose, but a talented criminal will know how to hack it. With this keychain, you are the only one who can open the door.
12. Padlock your garage door: When you’re out of town for a long time, don’t trust that the simple lock on your garage door will keep a persistent criminal at bay. Lock it up with a thick padlock for peace of mind while you’re gone.
The Family Handyman
13. Use door guards: A solid kick or shove can usually bust a door open, but not when you reinforce the frame with metal guards. These can help stop intruders from forcing down a door or at least give you time to escape.
14. Use smart door stops: This high-tech way of keeping your family safe beeps when something is blocking it. If a burglar slips his hand underneath the door, you’re alerted.
15. Hard drive-enabled security cameras: Let’s say you’re out of town and someone burglarizes your home. Without cameras, you might never find the culprit. With these cameras you’ll be able to make out the perpetrator easily.
16. Smart alarm systems: You can operate these systems from your phone and they’re quickly becoming the newest mode of protection. As long as you have your phone on you, you’re in complete control of your safety.
17. Classic door bolt: Many people who have these on their doors never really use them. Although it can seem kinda pointless to flip the lock closed, this bolt is actually exceptionally strong.
18. Bulletproof bed: Okay, so this may not exactly be the most practical item in the world, and frankly, it looks like a claustrophobic’s nightmare. But, if you are that worried about stray bullets, this is the bed for you.
19. Wear a security ring: This small, unassuming wearable technology has a sensor connected to an alarm. In the event an intruder gets the upper hand, you can sound the alarm on your ring without looking suspicious.
20. Buy a robot for home protection: These little robotic fellas aren’t going to physically stop someone themselves, of course, but they can cruise around equipped with cameras and sensors to detect unwanted activity.