Getting pulled over by law enforcement is every driver’s nightmare. No one knows this better than Sgt Daniel Negersmith, who served as a Clearwater Police Department cop for over 2 decades. In his 25 years as a police officer, Daniel has seen it all. He is not a stranger to the glaring tension and panic that motorists portray when they look into their rearview mirrors and see the flashing lights.
As you may already know, hardly anything good ever results when you’re in panic mode. So, during a pullover, drivers typically say things that irritate the officers and increase their chances of getting a ticket. From “I know the Mayor,” to arguing with them, lying, etc., there are so many things you can do or say to worsen your situation.
However, for Daniel, one phrase that will put you in the officer’s bad book faster than you can say, “cop,” is, “why did you stop me?” In his words, if “the first words out of your mouth are ‘Why did you stop me?’ Are you going to get a ticket? You might get two.”
Apparently, many law enforcement find this question to be rude as it doesn’t give them the opportunity to explain why they pulled the driver over. Daniel implied that politeness is everything. “If you’re nice to me, I’m going to give you a warning,” he said.
Besides being perceived as rude, asking why you were stopped is trying to tell them that you have no idea what you did wrong. No one wants anyone to make them look stupid—especially the cops. So, you see why things can immediately go from bad to worse if you use that line?
Note, though, that there are no guarantees and it’s no foolproof method for getting out of trouble with law enforcement. However, mastering the art of politeness when speaking with police officers will significantly increase your risk of getting a warning.
Another thing that you should note is that this phrase typically only works for minor offenses. For example, you shouldn’t expect to be let off for a traffic offense as serious as aggressive driving. In fact, law enforcement, especially those in Florida, are so focused on clamping down on the menace that you’re very likely to face aggressive driving charges for behaving recklessly behind the wheels.
“Cars that are weaving in and out of traffic and traveling at a high rate of speed, they cause crashes,” David said. “The whole mission today is about aggressive driving. To educate drivers to get them to slow down.”
Aggressive driving is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in the country. According to Lt. Greg Bueno from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “You will not find a legal speed higher than 70. Therefore, if you’re traveling 120 130 miles per hour, you’re doing something egregious, it’s reckless, it’s dangerous and someone is going to get hurt.”