Remaining Calm is the Ticket

With the holidays upon us, drivers have to be more cautious with icy road conditions, snow removal and turbulent winds. But say you look in the rearview mirror and the dreadful red and blue flashing lights are signaling you to pull over? A wave of panic advances, your palms become instant sweat pools and you have forgotten the proper protocol from your junior year Driver’s Education class. Fret not, despite your ironic “keep calm and carry on” tee.

Patrolman Officer Vaccaro of Ocean Township Police Department notes that your first step should be to, “Pull into a well lit area, off to the right side of the roadway, clearly out of the traffic lane.” After which your window should be fully rolled down with the engine off. If it’s night time, the interior light should be turned on as well. After eight years of service, Vaccaro adds that drivers are most commonly forgetting this step, which adds further suspicion to the situation.

Once stopped keep flashers on and remember the 10 and 2 rule, where you first learned to place your hands on the steering wheel. Placing hands in this position signals that you have control and are respectful to the patrolling officer.

“Once the vehicle is stopped an officer provides the dispatcher with the location and plate of the suspect vehicle. The officer then approaches the vehicle and asks the driver for license, registration and proof of insurance,” says Vaccaro.

If anyone has ever encountered the problem of locating these three items it displays disorganization, even if it is related to nervousness. A quick fix is to keep an envelope in the glove compartment with only the most recent forms of insurance and registration.

Vaccaro notes the most irritating act a driver can do is “tumble through useless paper pretending to look for these items.”

This time is not to be filled with petty excuses as many officers like Vaccaro have probably heard them all. Denying your alleged violation or lying in this situation is sticky as officers are less inclined to hear your sob story even before they have reached your car.

“[Drivers] should not respond or ask questions,” notes Vaccaro. If an officer is allowing for your response he or she will surely let you know. Therefore save the tears and control those emotions. There’s nothing worse than giving an officer an angry spur-ofthe moment opinion.

Senior Alyssa Petry said that keeping a cool head has always paid off. ““I always try to be nice to the officer who pulls me over, even when I don’t agree. I’ve always gotten a reduced ticket or warning because of that,” said Petry.

Suppose you are calm and collective, properly exchange correct materials and are still issued a ticket? According to officer Vaccaro, “take the summons and follow the instructions the officer provides.” If you are issued a ticket, there’s no sense in beating the system, or pulling out your Gold PBA card, what’s done is done. None the less, if you try to fight your battle in court instead of paying the citation, the officer who encountered your vicious attack will most likely make the appearance to testify too.

Remember, it is up to the officer’s digression whether your summons will be greater than your initial violation or whether you can walk away scot-free. I’d demonstrate vocabulary phrases such as, “yes sir, no sir,” to ensure respect and display an attitude of compliance followed by complete honesty. The more polite you are, the better your chances are that the officer will be too.

All in all, with the start of holiday parties and the stressful shopping season please keep the roads safe and keep in mind you have the ability to control the law by not breaking it!

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