Owning a car is a huge responsibility. The safety of yourself and others on the road is paramount. You should always be knowledgeable of that responsibility and do everything in your power to fulfill it. However, there are sometimes where you could be held responsible without having done anything to deserve it. This can have huge economic and legal repercussions for you. To make sure it doesn’t happen, you need to know how to use and protect your rights on the road.
Make sure you’re good to go
Regarding the police and their power to pull stops on the car, the best way to avoid trouble is to make sure you and your car aren’t causing any trouble on the road. Driving recklessly, using your phone, or not wearing a seatbelt are only some of the most common reasons you will get stopped in the first place. You should also make sure to check your car for equipment violations like broken headlights and cracks in the windshield. These can result in a stop, which can become a worse situation.
Be responsible when pulled over
Any situation can be escalated with the wrong movement, where the police are involved. When you are aware a police car is trying to pull you over, look for a safe spot to stop. You should turn off the radio, but you shouldn’t take off your seat belt, reach into the glove compartment, or under the seat. You certainly shouldn’t try to get out of the car. Not only can these be misinterpreted as threatening actions, but they will give any officer a justification of probable cause to suspect you are trying to hide something. Most importantly, be polite and respectful. You don’t want to give them any reason to turn against you.
The power of consent
If an officer is unable to produce probable cause, you shouldn’t consent to any searches on your person or your car. Even if you have nothing to hide, you have no idea what they might find in the car. You have the chance to stop a search entirely simply by saying ‘no’.
Never assume it’s a sure thing
If a police officer determines that you are in violation of a law, but you are sure that you’re not, you shouldn’t take their word for it. Even in cases that seem clear cut, like involving a breathalyzer test, could involve an error in police protocol in a plethora of ways. Even the evidence looks against you, if you are sure you aren’t in violation, then you should consider legal help like a DUI attorney.
Get the stone-cold facts on your side
Whether you’ve been pulled over you are in an accident, you should be prepared to do your own fact gathering, too. From using your camera phone to film police interactions to taking pictures and gathering witness testimonies at the scene of a crash, the sooner you can collect evidence in your favor, the better.
You should never assume that everyone will act with the best of intentions to ensure that truth of any matter regarding responsibility on the road is clear. Keep the tips above in mind and be careful.