What are cops’ pet peeves during a traffic stop?


A question posted recently on Quora asked, “What are the common pet peeves for police officers and how can I be a better citizen when getting pulled over?” Several officers gave their professional opinions on the topic below. Check them out and add your thoughts in the comments.

By Randy Russell:

I personally hated writing paying tickets with a few exceptions.  In those cases, I felt that the driver had volunteered to get one and I had a duty to oblige.

The first and worst was for DUI.  If a driver was drunk, they were done. No excuses were good enough to justify the abject tragedy I had seen over the years.

Another surefire ticket was a driver letting a child ride around without properly being secured.

Pet peeves would include the self-selected ticket for failure to dim bright headlights to oncoming traffic. This was a guaranteed stop and frequently a paying ticket if it was to conceal the fact that they had a blown low beam.  Those drivers were willfully blinding everyone else on the road to avoid a $9 non-moving equipment ticket with no points. Instead, their lack of regard for the safety of others and downright rudeness earned them a moving citation, 3 points, and a much, much bigger fine.  If their low beams worked okay, then I assumed they needed training on operating their vehicle within the law and the stop was educational.

Another peeve would be flagrantly dismissing the patrol car and what it represents by engaging in obvious disregard for its presence.  Usually, this is done by passing the cruiser in plain view of other motorists at a clearly unlawful speed.  This usually happens on limited access or major thoroughfares when someone is in so big a hurry that they could care less about blowing the doors off a marked unit.  It's okay to pass popo, just be pretty close to the limit and don't do it like you own the road at 20 over. 

Let me leave this as my final answer:  Follow the golden rule on the road.  If you wouldn't want another driver doing it to you (tailgating, blinding, blind spot camping, texting close to you, etc.) don't do it to them or around the police.  Cops are professional drivers and people just like you, except they can do something about it.  

By Rick Bruno:
Understand that the officer is a little stressed too. Traffic stops can be deadly encounters.

If he or she asks for your license, insurance or registration information and you have to reach into the glove compartment or console to retrieve it, tell the officer where you have to reach and ask if it's okay that you do so. The times I've been stopped (yes it happens), I have done this and the officer appreciates your understanding of his concerns.

If you want to call someone while you are stopped, go ahead. Just don't leave the officer standing outside your door. That's rude in any encounter. And don't try to hand him your phone saying your lawyer/father/uncle/cop friend wants to talk to him. It's irrelevant. He's dealing with you right now.

Nobody likes these encounters. Nobody likes tickets. Contrary to some people's' opinions, most police officers are honest and sincere. Are there exceptions? Yep. 

But believe it or not, they are not trying to ruin your day. They have a tough job. Be civil and expect civility and professionalism in return. 

The place to argue is in court.

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