Like it or not police officers are going to profile you. Reddit user detailer4u told the story. “How about turning left with my signal on. Got stopped because the signal did not stay on through the process of the turn. I am not making this up. That was a first for me. Especially considering this was before the process of completing the catch was a thing. Maybe that explains why the cop had on such a strange uniform.”
The excuse of a turn signal being out is liable to come up quite often during a stop. The best thing to do is to just go along with it and be on your way.
Classic cars attract unwanted attention, that’s no surprise. Reddit user JonathanHarper told the story of his classic Cobra being pulled over. “Least deserved pull was in Manhattan. It was the first semi-springlike weekend in the city after a long winter and I had convinced my bosses to let me dust off the Shelby Cobra replica for a little shakedown before members started booking it again. Cherry trees were in blossom and it was turning out to be a nice little cruise around the city. As I crossed central park there was an NYPD cruiser poking out one of the lots in the middle of the park.
“Sure enough, he pulls out behind me and lights me up. All while I’m driving slowly and normally. I pull over and the middle-aged uniformed officer was SUPER excited. Had tons of questions and I was cool about it. His younger female partner kept apologizing and asking if I had anywhere to be. They eventually took off and I felt good about a positive(ish) interaction with the NYPD. Went to start the Cobra as the cops drove off and sure enough, the battery was dead, and I wasn’t able to flag the departing cops. Luckily my co-worker zipped uptown with a jumper pack and get me sorted out in short order. The top photo is from that day, just before we got it going again.”
Being a new driver can be a fun and exhilarating experience. But it also means that you’re on the radar. Reddit user smny1534 told the story. “So now I’m thinking, okay, there’s no way I was speeding, hell my car wasn’t capable of breaking the speed limit in that distance (base model ZX3 focus, 5-speed manual though). Cops walk up to my window and ask for my license and reg, so I hand it to him, and ask why he pulled me over, he looks at me, then starts walking around my car, never answering. I’m freaking out at this point… and to make matters worse, second cruiser shoes up.
“So now I see three officers behind me, and I have no idea what I did. about 10 minutes later, at about 12:15, the officer comes up to my window and tells me I was driving with my fog lights on, and that it is extremely dangerous to do so, and he can have my JOL pulled (as a side note, drive around at night, about 70% of people do this). So I say sorry… because what else am I supposed to do. and right after I say this, a THIRD CRUISER PULLS UP… three cruisers for freaking fog lights. She comes over, asks if any help is needed, and the main guy says no, so she drives away.”
New drivers in small-town America are often the first to be subjected to a curfew. Reddit user ZR2TEN told the story. “The small city I grew up in had a noon curfew for kids under 18. I was 16 or so riding bikes at night with friends when we realized it was getting close to midnight. We couldn’t remember whether the curfew was at midnight or 12:30, so we found a cop in a shopping center parking lot & tried to ask him.
“He told us that we should know already & then ignored us, so we decided to at least start making our way back to someone’s house. Right at midnight, we looked back & saw that cop driving towards us. We ducked into a neighborhood & pretended like one of the houses was ours. He looked at us but didn’t stop. After the coast was clear, we cut through neighborhoods & the woods to get home.”
The military bases around the country house hundreds of soldiers and employees a day. Reddit user Squadral told the story of being stopped. “I was driving on a military base when I got pulled over about 150 ft past an intersection where I had been stopped at a red light. The MP walks up and tells me that he clocked me at 67 mph (in a 25 zone). I explained to him that there was no way that my 2001 Saturn station wagon could have been going that fast that soon after being stopped.
“What I didn’t say was that I checked my speed just before he stopped me and I was going 40 so I let off the gas to slow down. (What can I say, that little V6 could sound decent if you laid into it.) He walked back to his MP van, returned about a minute later, handed me my license, and very sheepishly said “Have a nice day.”
Again, cops can and will use just about any excuse to get probable cause to pull you over. Reddit user chairmankaga told the story. “Being from Arkansas, where front plates are not issued, we asked why we were still pulled over AFTER the officer got behind us and saw we were not registered in Texas. In response, he lied and said if we were in the State of Texas we must abide by State of Texas laws, and one of the laws was having a front license plate installed. He then asked the owner of the car for permission to search the vehicle. He agreed. Backup was called. One officer and a K-9 searched the car, disassembling it on the shoulder of Interstate 30, while another officer, one by one searched us and asked us questions about our business in the State of Texas, our destination, our origin.
“After about an hour they packed up and drove away. No discussion. No explanation. It took us another hour or two to reassemble the car. Door panels had been removed, the rear seat was out, everything from the trunk was removed, about half the carpet stripped. They were looking for drugs, but Jesus. When people talk about police state tactics, I know exactly what they’re talking about.”
If you’re going to drive out of state, make sure your tags are current. Reddit user joethedrummer told the story of finding this out. “I got pulled over late one night in rural Alabama on US 331, for “expired plates.” They were brand new Georgia plates less than a month old – ironic because I was moving back to Alabama. I was on my way to borrow a truck, go back to Atlanta, and pack up my stuff. Stupidly, I consented to a search, which turned up a literal clump of grass, like from the yard – I’d mowed before I left that afternoon. Grass, not “grass.” It was on like Donkey Kong at this point.
“This triggered a 90-minute adventure on the side of the road involving what must have been every cop on duty at 1 am in Covington County. One looked exactly like pro wrestler Big Boss Man, and he acted the part. He kept trying to “shake” my story – “You mean, you’re TRYING to MAKE ME BELIEVE that you’re moving when you’ve got one box in the back seat, and no suitcase?” Yes, I explained, repeatedly, I left a basket of laundry at my parents’ house last weekend, there are clean clothes where I’m headed, and I’m driving back with a truck tomorrow. I must have repeated this a dozen times.”
Arguing with a police officer is never a good solution. Chances are you will lose the argument. Reddit user Biscuit told the story. “While in college and coming back to Auburn, AL from a weekend in Destin, FL, around about Andalusia, I am leaving a stop sign at an intersection in my profile mobile (1989 240sx hatchback). I accelerate up a “hill” and from the intersection and the blues and twos come on behind me. So I pull over into a Piggly Wiggly parking lot and Officer Ornery comes up and just starts laying into me.
“I clocked you at 61 in a 35! That’s a reckless driving a**hole!” I proceeded to explain to him that I was in 3rd gear and saw no more than 3k rpm, so he was wrong, and could I please see the radar gun. That was not the correct response, because I got laid into some more, and he loudly and impolitely explained that “he didn’t need a radar gun to know how fast I was going!” Now I wasn’t really in the mood to argue because although he was clearly in the wrong, he was an easily 6’5″ 300lb man who looked like he had worked out every day of his life. He was also furious.”
Bicycle cops are sometimes the worst of the worst. Reddit user rockympls told the story of being a cyclist. “My town hosted the GOP convention back in 2008, and the police went berserk “warming up” for what was one of the most Orwellian nightmares I’ve seen in real life. I was an everyday bike commuter to my white-collar job, and I knew my routes well enough to do them in my sleep. Part of this was taking liberties with stoplights â and legally doing this, mind you. My bike wasn’t heavy enough to trigger the lights along my route, so I’d wait for the road to be clear, then cross.
“A freshly-minted undercover patrol saw me do this at a light and decided it warranted chasing me down and nearly knocking me off of my bike as I attempted to get off the road (I thought he was going after somebody that had done wrong). He jumped out with his firearm unholstered and pointed at me. Told me to put my hands up, then drop my messenger bag (that contained my work duds and lunch). He then angrily demanded my ID “and insurance,” I told him I didn’t think I needed insurance on a $400 single speed bike.”
Yet another bicycle stop happened in Crystal City, VA, but this one wasn’t as much of a confrontation. Reddit user oddseth told the story. “I used to have to cut through Old Town Alexandria, VA to get from trail-to-trail when I lived in nearby Crystal City, VA, and wanted to go for a 20-30 mile ride. There are over a dozen stop signs on the route but I would only stop at the stop signs when pedestrians or cars were present so I could keep my pace up (around 19 mph average). One day, when I was about to get through Alexandria and back on the trail towards Mt. Vernon, I looked back and I saw a bicycle cop a few car lengths behind me and he looked like he was about to pass out.
“I could have just sped up but thought I should stop and see what he wanted. He rode up next to me and was huffing and puffing – I thought he was going to pass out. After he caught his breath, he very politely told me that he had been following me for over a mile and wanted to let me know to be careful because about running the stop signs because if a traffic cop saw me, he would have pulled me over and given me a ticket. And any tickets and points received while on a bicycle would count against my driver’s license.”
One of the most common ways to get pulled over is for a police officer to say that they smell alcohol. Reddit user neverspeakaword told a story. “I spend the next 30-40 minutes on the side of the road doing sobriety checks. Stand on one foot. Close your eyes and touch your toes. Walk in a straight line. Close your eyes, tilt your back, and silently count out sixty seconds (this was a new one for me). A whole battery of tests. In the end, he asks me to blow a breathalyzer.
“So I blow the breathalyzer. Keep in mind, I had only been able to have a few sips of scotch before I spilled the entire glass on myself, so I am in no way whatsoever drunk. I’m standing there on the side of the road, he goes back in his car for a while. Eventually, he comes back with this super-duper annoyed look on his face and says to me “the legal limit in California is .08. You just blew a .01. You smelled like alcohol a lot more than that. Just be safe getting home.” And then he angrily walks back to his cruiser, and speeds away, with me on the side of the road dumbfounded.”
Although a yellow light doesn’t mean that you need to stop, there’s a good chance you could get pulled over by for flying through it. Reddit user Slothloveschunk told the story. “Cop came up, introduced himself as something much more important than a regular police officer, to which I couldn’t give two s***s about, and asked me why I ran that light. Ran that light? Intimidation is bulls**t.
“I responded I did not, it was yellow and I questioned how he even saw the light from where he was positioned (he couldn’t). He then asked why I was going so fast, to which I said I was not traveling over the speed limit (which I wasn’t.) He was baiting me and waiting for me to admit guilt, to which I refused. Again, never admit guilt if you aren’t guilty.”
Vehicles are equipped with fog lights for certain weather situations. However, in many states, it can be an infraction to drive with them. Reddit user milong told the story. “I was driving a buddy’s Audi A4 and the rear fog light was on. On that particular car, there was only 1 rear fog light per the manual. I get pulled over and the cop is adamant that the tail light is out and being a dick about it. I grab the manual and show him where it specifically states there is only 1 rear fog light and it’s incorporated into the tail light housing and turn it on and off for him to show him. He won’t budge and I just let it go.
“It didn’t end there, my wallet had some sand residue from a trip to white sands national park that he accused me of was cocaine. I told him what it was and to feel free to taste it. He did and promptly had a look of disgust from it. It didn’t stop there, he then accused me of having illegal window tint. It’s not my car dude, so I can’t say for sure and it’s not my problem. Eventually, he just told me to leave because he didn’t have anything. Gotta love those small-town cops, nothing better to do.”
Off-roading is a fun experience, but it can also lead to a pricey ticket. Reddit user thisburner221 told their story. “I was pulled over for a muddy license plate, in a rural area where 80% of the roads are dirt, in the springtime during what we in the northeast call mud season. It was just an excuse for the locals to harass my friend, our dates, and me on a Friday night.”
So as you can see the fact that this person had a muddy license plate gave the officer probable cause to pull him over. When it comes to off-roading, you need to make sure that you clean the car or SUV before you hit the road.
Electrical issues are something that affects cheap and used cars all the time. These issues car give a police officer reason to pull you over. Reddit user thecarguy4all told the story. “No, I wasn’t inebriated, but I had had a drink. So I was nervous when they pulled me over in a 35 mph stretch of Whaley in New Haven. The officer and his partner both got out of the car and came up to both sides of the car with their hands on their sidearms. I’ve never had this happen.
“Then the officer asks me if I know why he’s pulled me over. Mental checklists prepared, I answered that I had no clue. We weren’t speeding, I’d stayed in my lane since the bar… “Your license plate light is out” I must’ve given him a weird look because he frowned and reached for his sidearm. I gave him my information and he walked back to his patrol car with his partner. 30 minutes go by and my girlfriend (who was in the car with me… sorry, I’m not a great storyteller) starts freaking out about why we’ve been there so long.”
Reddit user print interior told the story of being pulled over in a track car. “I was driving a fully stripped track car (harnesses, rollbars, stickers, numbers, the whole nines) home from a weekend of racing. I’m cruising along at 65 in a 65 when there’s a cop up ahead doing around ten under. Using my blinkers, I merge left, pass him doing precisely the speed limit, and merge back to the right. BAM, blue lights. Figures.
“He comes up to tell me my license plate lights were out. I ask if he has a flashlight and he proceeds to illuminate for me while I pulled spare bulbs out of the toolkit in my truck and replace the plate lights on the spot. He was more amused than I had spares than anything else, and let me go with a handshake.”
Taking a turn too fast can cause police to pull you over. Reddit user southwestnomad told the story. “As I approached this particular area I slowed down from the usual 45mph as I had a feeling and I was right. As I rounded the bend in the road my headlights picked up the reflections of eyeballs. A lot of eyeballs. I came to a halt and flicked on the high beams and lit up about two dozen deer in various stages of crossing the road to and from the cemetery. To this day it’s still the single biggest herd of deer I’ve ever seen in 17 years of living here. Finally, the deer cleared the road and I dropped my brights and moved out, not quite getting back up to 45 as the speed dropped to shortly ahead.
“As I approached the 35 sign I saw a local cop sitting off to the side completely blacked out. This was about 60-70 yards from where I’d stopped for the deer. I pass him doing 35 when he completely lights up and pulls me over. Hand him my license and registration and he wants to know what was with the stop and the brights. Told him that I’d come upon a massive herd of deer crossing at the cemetery and I didn’t want to hit any of them.”