HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Getting pulled over by police is stressful, but it doesn't have to turn dangerous. Officers said keeping simple things in mind can keep a situation from escalating.
"Don't put any more stress into it than what it has to be," Lt. Stacy Bates with Huntsville Police Department said. "Take a deep breath, calm down, keep it low key, the officer's going to work off you."
It's common to try and find your license, registration and insurance information as soon as you are stopped. But, officers said wait for them to get to your window.
"When an officer approaches your car, keep your hands visible," Lt. Bates advised. "As an officer, we're trained that if somebody's going to harm you, it's going to come from their hands."
When an officer approaches your window, let him or her know if you have a weapon.
"As you're giving him your license, go ahead and give him your concealed carry permit," Lt. Bates said. "Let them know where your gun is, whether it's loaded or not, don't reach for it, don't make any moves for it."
Officers remind drivers that you're innocent until proven guilty.
"The side of the road is not the place to have court, that's what the court system is set up for," Lt. Bates explained. "If an officer gives you a citation, that doesn't mean you're admitting guilt in anything. It's saying that you'll either show up for court and contest the ticket or you'll go and take care of it beforehand."
So, the next time you find blue lights lighting up your rear view mirror, stay calm and still. Lt. Bates added if a driver feels like an officer didn't act appropriately, the person can file a complaint. The department's internal affairs department handles it from there.