There’s nothing worse than an interrupted, unplanned stop when your driving on the highway. Whether you’re rushing to work, or late to pick up the kids, or just headed to grab a bite to eat, getting pulled over or stopped by the police will ultimately put a damper on your day. While many of us gripe over seemingly unimportant infractions like speeding, using a cell phone while driving, or having a broken taillight, traffic officers have a job to do, which is to stop drivers who are breaking the law. Here are the top five reasons you may get pull over:
Speeding: Now in this area we’re all pretty guilty of going over the speed limit every now and then, but as many Virginia drivers already know, it could end up costing you. Naturally, the faster the speed you’re going, the less reaction time you have for unexpected circumstances. While most police officers will give you a bit of leniency if your doing less than 10 miles over, anything over the speed limit is justifiable and writing tickets is up to the officer’s discretion.
Illegal Cell Phone Use: Despite the various campaigns to keep drivers off their phones while driving, the majority of Americans still continue to talk, text, and tweet while on the road. Many states have a no-tolerance policy for cell phone use while driving and police everywhere are starting to crack down on these violations.
Equipment Violations: these infractions are tricky because often times you may not even be aware of a problem until it’s too late. Blown out tail-lights and brake lights, lack of front license plate, and heavy dark tint are all reasons an officer may pull you over, and sometimes it varies by location. In this metropolis it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to tints and license plate placement, as what may be legal on one side of the bridge could be considered illegal on the other.
Aggressive Driving: switching lanes without a signal, peeling off the line after a red light, illegal U-turns, and rolling through stop signs are some of traffic officers' most ticketed offenses. Avoid these situations by remaining patient while driving, and following the rules of the road.
Driver Violations: if you're driving along the highway and notice a police officer has been following behind you, it’s a good chance he’s been running your tags to check for any marks on your driving record. Expired tags, suspended licenses and registration, or a high amount of unpaid parking tickets can all contribute to you getting pulled over.
If you do get pulled over, remain calm. Since traffic stops are a huge gray area of law enforcement, try not to mouth off to the officer; he'll likely repay you by writing more tickets. Calmly ask why you were pulled over, and comply to any his requests. (e.g., turn the engine off, put hands on steering wheel). Remember if you feel that you were unjustly pulled over, you can always fight the case in court!