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Teen Driving Tips: Flashing Lights

Aug 17, 2007
During your tenure in driver's education training class, you are learning a great deal about obeying the law and how to handle the car. But do they always cover the specifics of what to do when you see flashing lights behind you? Flashing lights indicate that police officers are on the job and they are there to do their job. Their job is to cite you for a traffic violation.

First, take a deep breath, not every time the flashing lights appear behind you is related to receiving a traffic violation. In fact, a police officer can turn on their lights and signal a driver to pull over in order to alert them to a problem with their vehicle.

In The Event of the Real Thing

However, when you do see the flashing lights behind you, it's important to follow a certain etiquette and protocol to avoid getting more than the traffic ticket because contempt or resisting a police officer is a much more serious charge. You do not want to run the risk of increasing the potential fine you are already courting when the police officer turned on his lights and pulled behind you.

So, remember what you learned in driver's education training when those lights start flashing behind you and be sure to obey the following advice:

o Continue driving until you find a safe place to stop; never just slam on the brakes.
o Be sure to pull your car off to the right, if you need to make a turn to pull into a parking lot for stopping, be sure to signal.
o Always signal when you are ready to pull over or off the road
o Do not remove your seat belt and do not get out of your car
o Keep your hands on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions when the officer approaches the window
o When the police officer requests your license, registration and/or your proof of insurance, tell the officer where it is before you reach for it especially if your hands have to go out of sight
o Smile, be polite and listen to the officer-- don't joke, don't argue and don't get belligerent
o If you have passengers in your car, be sure to tell them to can any of the above behavior and that they should also keep their hands where they can be seen
o If it's night time, turn on the dome light inside your car-- if the officer shines a bright light in your face, don't get combative
o If you have to reach into your purse to get anything, open it wide enough that the officer can see inside of it
o If the officer asks you to step out of the car, cooperate.
o If you want to debate the offense, be reasonable and never yell

Your Driver's License, Your Life

If you still end up getting a traffic ticket at the end of the day, you have the option of fighting it when you get to court or just copping to it and taking a traffic school course to help offset the fine. You can also take traffic school online-- also known as defensive driving online in some key states, like Texas. Also, understand that if your traffic ticket is for expired inspection, expired license plates or other failed paperwork, getting it all up to date and in order before you pay your traffic violation fine may actually get the fine reduced or dismissed.

Teen driving is a privilege-- drive safe, protect your driver's license and your life.
About the Author
Danielle Rose is an executive with Drivers Ed Online and a teen driver education expert. Find more helpful information to guide teen drivers and their parents at the DriversEd Online Teen Driving Resources area on their website.
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