The Traffic Stop: Driver etiquette

By MPD Executive Officer Mo Hawkinson
December 16, 2015

The following is not traffic law, but addresses driver's etiquette during a Traffic Stop in the City of McPherson.

First and foremost, traffic stops must be safe. With safety in mind, stay in your vehicle when you are stopped unless asked to do otherwise by the law enforcement officer. The safest place to be on the roadway is inside your vehicle.

Do not get out or attempt to approach the officer unless asked to do so. Some time may pass between when you stop your car for the officer and their arrival at your window.

Please be patient as the dispatcher provides the pertinent information to the Officer. Take this time to turn your radio off, end your phone call, and remind your passengers, who may not know, to remain calm during the stop.

From an officer’s perspective these few small steps decrease distraction and increase the likelihood of a smooth stop for all parties. Leave your hands on the steering wheel where they are visible until you are asked for identification or documentation.

A little more info...

It is an unfortunate reality that law enforcement must be prepared for those who might reach for something other than their insurance information. You may even consider announcing where those items are while you reach slowly for them. For example, “my registration is in the glove box.”

Someone in a hurry to grab their wallet under the seat may find the officer conducting the stop has moved to a more guarded position of safety in preparation for the worst. Slow and narrated movements eliminate misunderstandings.

Traffic stops are meant to safely correct unlawful traffic conduct. It is every officer’s goal to make this correction as positive as possible and to arrive home safely at the end of each shift.

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on how and why we do what we do.

Each Tuesday, as activity permits, we address a topic dealing with traffic enforcement in the City of McPherson. This feature is organized by the Traffic Section of Patrol Bureau.

Private message the McPherson KS Police Department​ on Facebook your traffic enforcement questions unrelated to the addressed topic. We may address your question in a future “Traffic Stop”.

If you have a question which requires an immediate answer please phone one of our officers at our non-emergency number: (620)245-1200.


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