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Ask a Trooper: What should I do if I get pulled over?

Q: I was wondering what a person should do if they are driving and are stopped by an officer. Do I get out or stay in the vehicle?

A: Always pay attention to your surroundings, especially looking in your rear view mirror every three to five seconds so you can be aware of any emergency vehicles approaching. At first sight of the red lights behind you, pull over to the right and stop as far off the road as possible, as soon as you can. Do not keep driving. The officer probably knows the road very well and intends for you to stop right away and they will protect the scene with their squad car and lights.

Once you are pulled over, remain in the vehicle and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Do not make any sudden or suspicious movements. The officer(s) should approach the vehicle and let you know what they want you to do next, and will probably explain why you are being stopped. Pay attention to what the officer says and listen carefully to them and any instructions they may give. Always keep your driver license with you, and have your current proof of insurance card (for the vehicle you are driving) ready to display to the officer when they request it. You do not have to have the vehicle registration unless you are driving a commercial vehicle of any type, as we will have that information by entering your license plate into our computer.

If you have any questions about what has taken place during the stop, just ask the officer after they seem to have completed their contact. Being courteous and polite to the officer is appreciated.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send them to Sgt. Neil Dickenson — Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave, Duluth, MN 55811, @MSPPIO_NE or neil.dickenson@state.mn.us.

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