Many people have been stopped by the police in the past. Maybe they were speeding, or perhaps they had a taillight out. Traffic stops happen.
If you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, do you know what to do? Here are a few tips to help you know when to pull over and when to continue on.
Flashing lights: When to pull over
If you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, the first thing you should identify is if it is safe to pull over. Seeing lights in your mirror means that an emergency vehicle is behind you and may be attempting to stop you or move past you.
First responders need to get past you quickly in an emergency, so your primary concern should be pulling to the side of the road. Even if the emergency responder isn’t an officer who is trying to pull you over, you need to stop and pull off the road in the majority of cases. Failing to pull over is a traffic violation under many circumstances.
If you see police lights behind you and the officer is directly behind your vehicle, they could be trying to pull you over. Slow down. Put your hazard lights on if you need to, and start to move to the side of the road. If you cannot stop safely where you are, slow down to show that you are preparing to stop, and pull over as soon as you can. If the office wants to pass you, they will. Otherwise, you will have successfully stopped for a traffic stop.
What do you do if you can’t stop right away?
When you can’t stop right away and it will be more than a few seconds before you have a safe place to stop, put on your hazard lights and slow down as much as you can. You may want to try to signal to the officer that you’re attempting to pull over.
In an emergency, you may also call 911 and let the operator know that you’re being pursued but that you cannot stop for safety reasons. They should be able to notify the officer who will continue to follow you until you can stop safely.