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How to Avoid Being Pulled Over

There are preventative steps you can take to avoid being pulled over in the first place. Many of these steps will help you avoid making the driving mistakes that might lead a police officer to suspect that you are impaired and decide to pull you over.

Know The Vehicle
Let us assume you are about to drive a car. If you are at all uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the car you are driving, you are much more likely to make mistakes or drive erratically. And if you are not driving well, you are more likely to get stopped by a police officer.

If you are driving a car you are not used to—a friend’s car, a car you just bought, or a car you have not driven in awhile—it is important that you take a moment to remind yourself where everything is before you start to drive: emergency brake, transmission, turning signals, windshield wipers, headlights, high beams, hazard lights and so on. To get an overall feel for the car, just grip the steering wheel and put your foot on the brake. Also make sure that the seat and steering wheel are adjusted properly for you.

Taking a few seconds to do this is especially important if you are used to driving a car with a different kind of transmission. If, say, you are driving an automatic when you are accustomed to a manual, spending a minute or two to familiarize yourself with the car can make the difference between getting where you are going safely and slamming on the brake in a frantic search for a non-existent clutch.

Also make sure everything on the outside of your vehicle is in working order and that your vehicle registration tags are current. Police officers often use a minor vehicle infraction like broken taillights or expired registration tags as a reason to stop a vehicle. Things like broken taillights are especially likely to get you pulled over at night when they can be easily seen.

Know Where You are Going
Before you start driving, know where you are going, how to get there, and how to get back home. Getting lost and trying to find the right road will inevitably lead to errors in your driving.

Know Where Not To Go—Avoid Sobriety Checkpoints
Keep alert to sobriety checkpoints, especially during holiday periods. While the police are legally required to notify the public of where and when the checkpoints will be, you may not have gotten the information in time. Before you go out, check the newspapers or websites of your local area.

Know your Rights
If the unfortunate occurs, and you are stopped for driving under the influence (DUI/DWI), know your rights and what to expect when you are pulled over.