If you ask different law enforcement officers why they are touching the back of your car when you’re pulled over, you’ll probably hear different answers all the time. Many myths are hanging around in the internet about this move by police, and it is often difficult to understand what is legitimate and what is not.
The truth is – there is no one clear reason for that, as touching your car by police is more of an old ritual than anything else. Sometimes, officers will do it simply because it’s tradition. Other times, they may be looking for evidence of a crime.
However, the most likely explanation is that they are checking for suspicious driver reactions or other hazards. Whatever the reason, it’s always best to cooperate with the law enforcement officers when you’re pulled over.
Traditional Aspect Of Touching Your Car By The Police
In the past, police officers relied on their training and intuition to keep them safe when pulling over a car. One technique that was taught was to leave officer’s fingerprints on the car.
This would provide evidence that the officer had been there in case the driver decided to leave or kill the officer.
With the advent of dash cameras, this is no longer necessary. Now, officers can simply record the encounter, providing clear evidence of what transpired. As a result, the need to physically touch the car has diminished.
However, vast majority of police officers touch car’s back or headlight when performing a pull over, because they want to respect old traditions or just used to do so because other officers do.
In following paragraphs we’ll discuss all known reasons why police officers touching back of your car when you are pulled over.
1. Reason – Leaving Fingerprints on Your Vehicle
As we discussed earlier, when a police officer pulls over a car, they leave their fingerprints on the vehicle. This evidence can be used in the event that the driver decides to leave the scene or, worse, kill the officer.
Many believe, that the officer’s fingerprints may be enough to identify his identity and provide vital information about their movements before and after the incident. In other cases, the fingerprints may simply be used to confirm that the officer was present at the scene.
2. Reason – Checking If There Anybody Inside The Trunk
In the past, many cars didn’t have safety latches on their trunks. This meant that police officers could easily determine if there was somebody inside the trunk when they performed a traffic stop.
To do this, they would slightly press on the trunk lid to see if it was spring-loaded. If it was, then they could identify was somebody inside or not.
However, in 2002, Federal government made a mandate, that every car must be equipped with an safety latch on the trunks, so nowadays that reason is not actual anymore.
3. Reason – Be in the Blind Spot
One way to ensure safety is to remain in the driver’s blind spot. By touching the taillight, the police officer is able to do this. By doing that, if the driver were to try take a weapon or leave the vehicle, the officer would still have time to react before something bad will happen.
In addition, it’s also important for the officer to be close enough to the car so that he or she can easily see what’s going on inside. This way, if there’s any suspicious activity, the police officer can take appropriate action.
How To Act When You’re Pulled Over By a Police
If you’re pulled over by the police, it’s important to stay calm and be respectful.
- Turn off your engine and roll down your window.
- Put your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them.
- Avoid making any sudden movements, and don’t reach for your license and registration until the officer asks for them.
- If you have any weapons in your car, tell the officer about them before reaching for anything.
- Once you’ve handed over your documents, answer any questions truthfully but concisely.
- If you’re asked to step out of the car, do so slowly and calmly.
- Avoid making any sudden movements or reaching into your pockets.
- Remember that you have the right to remain silent, so if you feel like you might incriminate yourself, you can invoked your Fifth Amendment rights.
However, it’s generally best to cooperate with the officer as much as possible.
Police officers may have a number of reasons for touching your car when they pull you over. In some cases, they may be looking for your reaction or trying to see if there is anyone hiding in the trunk.
In other cases, they may simply be checking to make sure you’re not about to do anything sneaky.
If you are pulled over, it’s important to stay calm and follow the officer’s instructions. Remember that you can always ask questions and politely request to see a warrant if you have any concerns. Have you ever been pulled over? Let us know how it went in the comments!