Don't Get Hurt During A Traffic Stop

Don't Get Hurt During A Traffic Stop

The tragic story of a young black man losing his life at the hands of police during a routine traffic stop is all too familiar. Such was the case with 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, whose encounter with law enforcement turned violent, resulting in a merciless assault that left him hospitalized and ultimately led to his untimely death from internal injuries three days later.

While the details of this incident are still under investigation, the six officers involved have been fired and charged with multiple felonies, including second-degree murder and aggravated assault. While we hope these officers will be tried and rendered a just verdict in a court of law, the bigger question is: how can we prevent such occurrences from happening in the future?

As someone with over 20 years of experience as a security professional, I have some valuable insights and advice on how to help ensure your safety in the event of a traffic stop.

It has happened to all of us, you’re driving along when flashing lights suddenly appear behind you. It’s a police car. You’re being pulled over. What do you do?

First, pull over. Second, don’t do something that could get you hurt. Unfortunately, even people who believe they are following police instructions can still wind up detained, injured, or killed.

For African Americans—especially Black men (I hate bringing this up during Black History Month, but the truth will set you free)—and other People of Color, the chances of a traffic stop having a bad outcome are higher than they are for others.

But don’t be fooled: A bad encounter with the police can happen to almost anyone, as recent reporting and news stories have shown.

Are you a security professional? A current or retired member of law enforcement? You could still find yourself involved in a bizarre traffic stop.

No matter who you are, remember these tips if you get pulled over by the police:

  • Stay Calm. Your words and actions make a big difference. Even if your calm behavior doesn’t completely comfort the officer who stops you, it could make a big difference in the long run. For example, a New Jersey man remained calm during a violent police stop almost 10 years ago, so he lived to fight the injustice he suffered and won a court settlement. This is a so-called calm version of what not to do.
  • Be sure the officers can see inside your vehicle
  • Make sure your hands and anyone else's are visible inside the vehicle
  • Follow the officer’s instructions
  • Move slowly when obeying the officer’s commands
  • When asked, give the officer your license and registration. Tell the officer what you are doing as you reach for them

It’s helpful to know your rights when confronted by the police, but you don’t need to argue with the officer about them when you are stopped. I repeat: Remain calm. I understand that the whole situation may be horrible and unfair, but a speeding ticket or busted tail light aren’t worth risking your life.

Image: Shutterstock/FrameStockFootage


Stay informed about security issues. Check out my book, Rent-A-Cop Reboot, and my videos on the Leumas Publishing YouTube Channel.