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The student news site of ADM High School

Black & (Red)gister

The student news site of ADM High School

Black & (Red)gister

Uncommon Reasons You Can Be Pulled Over

Uncommon Reasons You Can Be Pulled Over
Photo by Jorja Janssen

Getting pulled over is never a fun time. Most commonly, drivers get pulled over for speeding, headlight malfunctions, or running a stop light/stop sign. Did you know that you can actually get pulled over for many other reasons that you probably weren’t taught? You may be asking yourself, What else can I be pulled over for? I’m about to answer all your questions.

One unfamiliar reason you can be pulled over for is driving too slowly. It does not happen often, mainly because no one is really driving too slow, but it can happen. Think about an interstate, where the maximum speed limit is 70 MPH while the minimum speed limit is 40 MPH. If a driver is going below the minimum speed limit of 40 MPH, that is an example of driving too slow.

Another reason you can be pulled over is not wearing your seatbelt correctly. This can mean that your seatbelt is tucked under your arm, behind your back, or twisted around and can cause you to get a ticket. Your seatbelt must be worn properly and must be secured.

A very unknown reason you can be pulled over for is driving an old “beater” car. Any car with broken and/or taped headlights/taillights, cracked windows, broken or hanging bumpers, and substantial rusting can draw the eye of a police officer and give them a reason to pull you over.

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One reason, unknown even to me, is having a broken license plate light. If your license plate light is broken and not working, it is considered an equipment malfunction and makes it hard for police officers to check your license plate and registration. Usually, you will only receive a verbal warning or a fix-it-ticket.

You can get pulled over for eating. A police officer can pull you over for eating, putting on makeup, changing clothes, and any other action considered unsafe for you to do while driving. To an officer, these are not safe actions, no matter what speed you are going.

A less common reason you can get pulled over for is having a large license plate cover. If the cover overlaps anywhere on your license plate, it can get you into some trouble with the law.

Although this probably won’t happen too often, driving with a couch in your trunk can get you pulled over. For all seniors who are moving out, maybe think about renting a moving truck or a trailer to help you haul those bigger pieces of furniture. It may save you a ticket.

Blaring music can also get you pulled over. Some people may think they are cool because they are listening to music so loudly that it is heard by other cars, but this can actually get you in a lot of trouble. It can be dangerous if you are listening to very loud music because the sirens of emergency vehicles may not be able to be heard. To avoid a costly ticket, make sure to keep your radio at a reasonable volume.

Although it can be fun, peeling out or screeching your tires can be reason enough for a cop to pull you over. Screeching tires go hand in hand with reckless driving. Sometimes it can be an accident. You may not realize that you took off faster than you did. Just make sure that when you accelerate after being stopped or parked, you don’t accelerate too fast.

In Iowa, your front windshield and front driver/passenger windows must allow for 70% of light in while your back driver/passenger windows and rear windows can have any tint on them. If you feel that your windows are tinted too much, stop into your local auto repair shop and have them check it out to avoid a ticket.

We all know that throwing trash out your window is illegal, but did you know you are allowed to throw out water and chicken feathers? Throwing anything other than water and chicken feathers out of your window can result in you being pulled over and even getting a ticket.

An uncommon reason you could be pulled over is having your brights on for too long when another vehicle is approaching you. It is common courtesy that you flick your brights off when you spot another car, but if you wait too long to flick those brights off, you could be pulled over and on the receiving end of a ticket.

Did you know you can be pulled over for responding too slowly to traffic lights? Similar to the brights, you could possibly receive a ticket for not slowing down soon enough at a red light, or not accelerating fast enough at a green light. This is because slow drivers can disrupt the flow of traffic, which is illegal. Be sure to always pay attention to the traffic lights and stop signs.

As most of us know, you can be pulled over for reckless driving. The more common forms of reckless driving are seen in driving under the influence, speeding, and passing in a no-passing zone. However, there are more uncommon forms of reckless driving such as tailgating in bad weather, passing on a blind curve, excessive lane change or weaving in and out of traffic, street racing, intentionally failing to yield to right-of-way drivers and/or pedestrians, not letting other vehicles pass you, nearly striking an object or vehicle, turning wider than needed, driving on the center or right lane lines, inappropriate breaking, driving on a flat tire, etc.

Many high schoolers and even some adults don’t know the reasons that police officers can pull you over. But what do you do when you do get pulled over? The first and most important step is to stay calm. Make sure you turn on your turn signal to show the officer and others around you that you are pulling over. Begin to slow down and pull off on the side of the road. Once you have safely pulled over, turn your car off and make sure the radio is on a low volume or completely off. If you happen to be pulled over at night, turn on the light inside your car to give you and the officer better visibility. Make sure you are cooperating with the officer and keeping your hands where they can be seen.

If the officer asks you “Do you know why I have pulled you over?” always answer no. This way you are answering the officer without incriminating yourself. If the officer asks you “Do you know how fast you were going?” This is a trick question, always answer yes. Saying no can often prove to the officer that you were being negligent. Make sure to never ask “Why are you pulling me over?” or “Why am I being pulled over?” These questions often come off as insulting and can make the experience worse for both you and the officer.

It can be very nerve-racking and sometimes even frightening to be pulled over, but the most important thing you can do is to be calm and kind.

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