No one wants to see flashing lights and hear the sirens behind them when they’re driving down the road, but most drivers will have this experience at some point in time. It’s normal to feel intimidated or nervous when you’re being pulled over, but keep these tips in mind to stay safe and protected.

Keep Proper Documentation Handy

Since you never know when you are going to be pulled over, it’s important to prepare for this occurrence before it happens. Make sure that a current copy of your license, registration, and insurance information are in your vehicle at all times. If your state requires vehicle inspections, complete this in a timely manner, and ensure that your vehicle registration is up to date. When you are pulled over, the officer will ask you for this documentation.

Stay Calm

When you’re getting pulled over, your first instinct might be to panic. However, staying calm is vital. Whether or not you’ve actually done something wrong, you’ll be able to deal with the situation more effectively if you are calm and coherent. Panicking does no good, and it can even make the officer suspicious if your behavior is over the top or erratic.

Choose a Safe Location

You need to pull over quickly once you notice the police car, but you also need to do this in a safe manner. If the police car is unmarked, it’s especially important to pull over in an area where other vehicles or people are present.

Although you should pull over as soon as possible, avoid making any dangerous traffic moves. This puts you, the other vehicles, and even the police officer at risk.

Be Compliant

If you are automatically argumentative and hateful when the officer approaches your vehicle, your interaction will likely not end well. As the officer approaches your car, unroll your window, take a deep breath and determine to conduct yourself in a calm, clear manner.

As a general rule, it’s best not to dig through your wallet or your glove compartment for your documentation until the officer asks you to do so. Even if these actions are innocent, they can give the impression that you are searching for a weapon or hiding illegal substances.

Know Your Rights

If the officer is asking to search your vehicle, you need to know your rights. According to Bachus & Schanker Law, in some states, an officer can search your car if he feels your behavior is suspicious. In others, you must be arrested before a search can be performed without your consent. It’s important to know your rights so that you can protect yourself without causing undue conflict.

If you are being accused of illegal activity, remember that you can choose to have a lawyer or auto accident attorney from Denver present before you answer any questions.

Getting pulled over doesn’t have to be a traumatic event when you are prepared and you know your rights. Regardless of the officer’s demeanor, it’s best to maintain your calm and composure as you address the accusations.