Everyone is guilty of violating the rules of the road every now and again. For example, even if you’re a safe driver, there may come a time when you look at the speedometer and realize that you’re driving too fast.

There’s little as nerve-racking as the sight of a police car chasing you down in your rearview mirror. Although your stomach will sink, this is not time to panic. Instead, you should remain calm and take a variety of steps to protect your legal rights.

Here is what you need to do if you’re pulled over for speeding:

  • Wait until you can do so safely: If there’s nowhere safe to pull over, activate your hazard lights and continue to drive. Once you find a safe place, such as a parking lot, pull over and put your vehicle in park. The key here is to use your hazard lights, as you don’t want the officer to think you’re trying to escape.
  • Stay in your vehicle: Getting out will put the officer on high alert, as they don’t know what you’re trying to do. Also, even if an officer asks you to get out, you don’t necessarily have to comply. However, in most cases, it’s best to get out to prevent additional tension.
  • Provide the requested documentation: The officer is likely to ask for your license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Provide this without delay.
  • Discuss the reason you were pulled over: For instance, maybe the officer tells you that you were driving over the speed limit. If so, explain that you thought you were keeping up with the flow of traffic. This may not help you avoid a ticket, but it’s better than admitting fault.
  • Don’t pay the ticket right away: Not only will this impact your finances, but it could lead to points on your license and a higher insurance rate in the future.

You have the legal right to fight a ticket for a traffic violation in court. With knowledge of your legal rights and a clear idea of the strategy you want to use, you may be able to avoid a penalty altogether or at the very least reduce the impact on your personal life and finances.

For more information on traffic violations, review the many pages of our website and blog that touch on this subject.