RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Ever been driving, and a police officer turns his lights on indicating you need to pull over? You may have committed a moving violation, or it could be something as simple as a burned-out brake light.
Reno Police Officers Tim Broadway and Colleen Guilford met us at the regional training center to take us through a couple of do-and-don't scenarios when it comes to traffic stops.
From a driver's prospective: a fine or increased insurance rates, and the worst case scenario: a trip to the jail can all be in the offing. But for an officer it can be his or her life, because a routine traffic stop is never routine.
“A little heightened awareness because we have no idea who these people are that we are stopping. It is really a dangerous situation. Whenever we are stopping someone on the freeway, in a neighborhood, or Virginia Street somewhere, there is fast-moving traffic, says Officer Tim Broadway with Reno Police Department.
With that in mind, Officer Broadway suggests putting on your turn light and pulling over as far to the right as possible. Turn off your car, and turn off the interior light as well. Lower your window, and place both your hands on the steering wheel. Don't immediately get on your phone. And don't get out of your car.
What you do and say at the time of the stop can have an impact on what happens next. Doing what the officer asks and being pleasant couldn't hurt, and what you do or say can have an impact on any legal proceedings that might follow.
“The more cooperative you are, the quicker the stop will go. It could mean the difference between getting a ticket and a warning,” says Officer Broadway.
Be sure to have your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance; try to have them readily available at all times. Don't rummage through a back pocket, or glove compartment; for all the officer knows, you could be reaching for a weapon.
Keep in mind they are fully aware, traffic-related incidents are the leading cause of death for officers. Last year at this time, that number increased by 20% nationwide.