What to Do When You Get Pulled Over by the Police in India?

How would you respond if you are unexpectedly pulled over by a police vehicle? Will you stay in your vehicle or get out? Here is a brief guide to how you must react to such a situation in India.

A jammed packed road on the narrow streets, filled with cars, bikes, and scooters is idyllic in India. Amongst this chaos regulating these vehicles, the traffic cops are a common sight in India. As India is urbanizing, the pressure on the city streets is rising and traffic regulation has become vital in easing the super fast lives of the people. And hence they are equipped with means that are sometimes used coercively to ensure the same. Being pulled over is a common phenomenon that has been faced by almost every other person who has driven the streets of India. But most of us still don't know what do do when we are being pulled over by the Police. Here are some tips that can help you while tackling such situations.

Know how to React when you get Pulled Over by Police

Given below are some of the tips you should know about how to react when you get pulled over by police in India.

Pull over when it's safe

When you are asked by the traffic police to pull over do not be a bundle of nerves and end up slamming your breaks. First, evaluate the situation you are in. The traffic officers usually use a clear hand gesture or blow their whistle when they want to pull you over. look around for other vehicles speeding on other lanes and then gently pull over. Do not rush and cause another violation, it will be the last thing you would want to do.

Be Calm

Once you have pulled over, be calm and stay inside your vehicle. Don't go out of the way to talk to the officers and explain what went wrong, instead turn off your vehicle engine to let the police officer know that you are not going to run off. If you are in your car roll down your windows to let the officer know that you are not in possession of anything illegal. In case you are traveling alone during the night and are asked to pull over but you are not sure whether the person is an actual police officer, you can pull over at a well-lit place or perhaps the nearest petrol pump. If you are in this situation, you can ask for his warrant card before engaging with him further.

Talk politely

The traffic police are doing their job, and they deal with hundreds of vehicles on a daily basis. Being pulled over does not necessarily mean that you have done something wrong and you are in trouble. Sometimes they just perform random checks by asking for all the necessary documents related to your vehicles, sometimes they even pull you over to inform you that your headlight or indicator bulb is broken. Therefore, being polite and respectful helps you in not getting into further problems. Be honest while you are trying to explain and apologize if necessary. Do not argue on the road as it could worsen the situation and the traffic police may get angry and be adamant to not change his mind. This way if you have not committed any grave offence you might be let off with just a warning rather than a fine ticket.

Ask the reason why you are being pulled over

Ask the officer politely why you have been pulled over, traffic officers can stop a vehicle at any time for any reason like rash driving, not following of speed limit, not adhering to road safety provisions or on suspicion over a traffic rule infringement or any other crime. they can also pull you over for random check ups as mentioned above. Therefore, before taking any action or explaining yourself. as it is better to avoid any unnecessary charges for which you have not been pulled over.

Know your rights

Although the traffic officers work in the best interests, it is in better to know what your rights are while being in these situations. Here are some important rights that you should know:

  1. A traffic police officer cannot penalize you if he/she does not have a challan book or e-challan machine.

  2. The traffic police are empowered to ask for your driving license and other paperwork related to your vehicles like registration certificate, PUC (Pollution Under Control) papers, and motor insurance. You are only required to show these documents to them, it is completely your choice whether you want to hand over these documents to them. Section 130 of the Motor Vehicles act only requires a person to your license for examination and does not mandates handing over. It is mandatory to carry original documents and license with you at all times.

  3. Every policeman carries a badge on their uniform. make sure to check the identity of the police officer who has pulled you over.

  4. In case the police officer seizes your license or vehicle documents in case of any suspicion or violation, make sure that you are given the receipt which states the circumstances and the reasons for such seizure.

  5. If the police officer is of the rank of a sub-inspector or above you can settle the offence by paying there.

  6. A traffic official cannot tow your vehicle if you are sitting in it. You have to vacate the vehicle before they can tow it.

  7. If you are female and you are stopped by the traffic police after 6 p.m. then you can ask the officer to bring a female officer. A male officer cannot physically search you.

  8. If in case you are detained by the Traffic police for an offence then you must be produced before the magistrate within 24 hours for your trial.

  9. A challan consists of Name and address of the court where the offence will be tried, details of the offence committed, date of the trial, vehicle details, name and address of the offender, name, and signature of the officer and the details of the documents retained.

  10. Do not succumb to illegal demands of police

    Do not try to bribe the officer either on your accord or when asked. It is morally wrong and is a punishable offence under the law. Take a note of the number on his buckle or his name on the tag pinned to his shirt. In case he is not wearing his buckle or his name tag, ask for his identity card. You can refuse to give him his document if he refuses to give you his identity card. One can approach the traffic police to complain regarding the grievances one has faced due to a particular incident. Include the details of the incident along with the description of the concerned traffic officer. It is desirable to send the complaint through a registered post rather than going to their office.

    Nobody likes to come under the police radar while being on the move. But it is important to understand that the traffic police is working 24 hrs for your safety on the road. Being pulled over is natural and unavoidable, and even the most adept driver can be pulled over by the police. First resolve your situation every time you are pulled over and then take deep breaths, regain composure and leave the scene in peace. As a fellow commuter on the streets of India, it is your duty to adhere to traffic rules and follow the signs on the route. It is always better to know and follow all the traffic guidelines to avoid getting into these situations. Have a safe and happy driving!


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