Traffic Stops

What to Do During Traffic Stops

There are several traffic laws and regulations in place to help ensure Winston-Salem's roads and highways are safe places to travel. Enforcement of these laws can be stressful for both the motorist and the police officer. The following are a few tips that can alleviate the tension of a traffic stop.

Tips to Alleviate Tension

When a police officer signals you to pull over:Police Officer Walking up to a Car

  • Pull over as far to the right as safely possible. This allows the officer to more safely walk to your car.
  • Turn off the ignition.
  • Turn on the interior light if the stop occurs at night.
  • Place your hands on the steering wheel until the officer can make a safe evaluation as he/she approaches your car.
  • Avoid making any sudden or reaching movements.
  • Please stay in your vehicle unless asked by the officer to get out of your car.
  • If you are carrying a weapon advise the officer of the weapon and its location.
  • Always follow the officer's instructions.

Standard Traffic Stop Procedures

  • Being stopped at night, particularly along a dark stretch of road, can heighten the tension for a motorist and an officer. Officers do not object to drivers proceeding to the nearest well-lit area. Simply acknowledge the officer by turning on your flashers and drive at a reduced speed.
  • Always place your hands on the steering wheel until the officer can make a safety evaluation as he or she approaches your car.
  • If asked to step out of the car, walk to the rear of your vehicle to the side away from traffic, or as directed by the officer, using the car as a barrier between you and on-coming cars.
  • The officer will ask you for two important pieces of information, your driver's license and automobile registration. You will be told the reason for the traffic stop.
  • Please do not attempt to argue with the officer. This may only increase the tension in an already uncomfortable situation.
  • Depending on why the officer felt it necessary to initiate the traffic stop you may, or may not, be given a citation or warning ticket. If you receive a citation you will be advised of a court date which allows you the opportunity to take your case before a judge. Certain traffic violations require that if charged you are taken into custody and must appear before a magistrate.
  • Once business with the officer is finished, you should merge, with caution, back into the flow of traffic.
  • Do not assume that the officer knows you are a perfect, law-abiding citizen. Law enforcement can be dangerous work so officers must be cautious at all times.