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ASK A TROOPER: Stopped by an officer - part two

Question: Some years ago I read an article you wrote about what we are supposed to do if we are driving and get stopped by an officer. Do we get out? Stay in or vehicle? Can we keep driving to a safe well-lit place if at night? With all the enforcement projects officers are working it might be good for you to talk about it again. Thanks.

Answer: Thanks for asking. First of all, be paying attention to your surroundings, especially looking in your rearview mirror every three to five seconds so you can be aware of any emergency vehicles approaching. At first sight of the red lights behind you, pull over to the right and stop as far off the road as possible, as soon as you can. Don’t keep driving. The officer probably knows the road very well and intends for you to stop right away and will protect the scene with his/her squad car and lights.

Once you are pulled over, remain in the vehicle and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Do not make any sudden or suspicious movements. The officer) should approach the vehicle and let you know what they want you to do next, and will probably explain why you are being stopped. Pay attention to what the officer says and listen carefully to them and any instructions they may give. Always keep your driver license with you, and have your current proof of insurance card (for the vehicle you are driving) ready to display to the officer when they request it. A lot of our contacts last longer because drivers have to spend time looking for these items. You don’t have to have the vehicle registration unless you are driving a commercial vehicle of any type.

If you have any questions about what has taken place during the stop, just ask the officer after they seem to have completed their mission. In most cases, being courteous and polite to the officer can help too!

If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, please send your questions to: “ASK A TROOPER” c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers MN State Patrol P.O. Box 644 Brainerd, MN 56401 or email questions to with Ask A Trooper in the subject line. Questions are edited.