From the California Department of Motor Vehicles: What a driver should do during an enforcement stop.

Question: What is the best way to react when being pulled over by law enforcement?

Answer:

• Acknowledge the officer's presence by turning on your right turn signal. Activating your signal lets the officer know that you recognize his or her presence. An officer may become alarmed if you fail to recognize him or her, and might perceive that you have a reason to avoid yielding or that you might be impaired.

• Move your vehicle to the right shoulder of the road. The officer will guide you using his or her patrol vehicle. Do not move onto the center median. Do not stop in the center median of a freeway or on the opposite side of a two-lane roadway. This places both the driver and the officer in danger of being hit by oncoming traffic.

• On a freeway, move completely onto the right shoulder, even if you're in the carpool lane. Stop in well-lit areas when possible. Pull your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible. When it is dark, look for locations that have more light such as areas with street or freeway lights, near restaurants, or service stations.

• End your cell phone conversation and turn off your radio. The officer needs your full attention to communicate with you to complete the enforcement stop in the least amount of time needed.

• Remain inside your vehicle unless otherwise directed by the officer. Never step out of your vehicle, unless an officer directs you to do so.


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During an enforcement stop, the officer's priorities are your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the officer's own personal safety. In most situations, the safest place for you and your passengers is inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle without first being directed by an officer can increase the risk of being struck by a passing vehicle and/or increase the officer's level of feeling threatened.

• Place your hands in clear view, including all passengers' hands such as on the steering wheel, on top of your lap, etc. During an enforcement stop, an officer's inability to see the hands of the driver and all occupants in the vehicle increases the officer's level of feeling threatened. Most violent criminal acts against a law enforcement officer occur through the use of a person's hands, such as the use of a firearm, sharp object, etc. If your windows are tinted, it is recommended that you roll down your windows after you have stopped your vehicle on the right shoulder of the roadway and before the officer makes contact with you.

• For more information on what a driver should do during an enforcement stop, visit www.dmv.ca.gov click on the Publication Tab and click the link to the California's Driver Handbook.