It can be a little unnerving when you see police lights flashing in your rearview mirror. When you’re carrying concealed and you get pulled over by a police officer, an already stressful moment can take on new shades of paranoia and uncertainty.
Just take a deep breath and remember the following as the officer approaches your vehicle.
Following these tips will help keep the officer at ease and keep the traffic stop as stress-free as possible.
Roll Down the Window
When the officer pulls up behind you, roll down your window to make it as easy as possible for the officer to speak to you and for you to hand over your license, registration and concealed carry permit.
It’s not a bad idea to turn on the dome light to illuminate the inside of the vehicle and reassure the officer that you have nothing to hide.
Keep Your Hands on the Wheel
As the officer approaches your vehicle, avoid making any sudden movements that may cause the officer to become suspicious.
Place your hands near the top of your steering wheel in the plain sight of the officer. Doing so will reassure the officer that you are not a threat.
Stay Calm, Collected and Polite
Regardless of the reason you’ve been pulled over, it is important to remain respectful when you communicate with the officer. Don’t make any excuses or assumptions about the reason you may have been pulled over.
Keep your trap shut until the officer informs you of the reason.
Know Your State’s “Duty to Inform” Laws
You should always know the concealed carry laws of the jurisdiction in which you’re driving.
Some states require citizens to inform officers that they are carrying concealed. If you are in a “duty to inform” state, you must tell the officer that you are carrying a concealed weapon.
Even if you don’t have a duty to inform, it’s still a good idea to inform the officer that you have a permit to carry concealed and that there is a firearm in the vehicle.
Doing so will prevent any “surprises” if the stop is prolonged or a search is performed on your vehicle.
Present Your Driver’s License, Registration, Insurance and CCW Permit
If you haven’t already gathered your documentation, inform that you will be retrieving it and let him or her know where it is.
Don’t speak and start moving at the same time.
Wait for the officer to reply that he/she understands you will be reaching for your documentation and where it is.
Move slowly to reassure the officer that you’re not a threat. Slowly hand them to the officer and wait for further instruction.
Don’t Exit the Vehicle or Leave the Scene Unless the Officer Says So
Remain in your vehicle unless the officer tells you to get out. Don’t assume you’re free to go until you hear it from the officer.
While it’s never fun to get pulled over while driving, following these tips will make the experience go as smoothly as possible.
Officers have a tough job and they’re always on alert for potential threats. Following these steps will put the officer’s mind at ease during the stop.