Driving the roads as a commercial trucker takes mental and emotional energy. Few things are more stressful than when a Department of Transportation officer or state trooper pulls you over. As a consequence, you must always look for ways to smooth over the bumps in those situations. The steps below are ones you can take — or in the first example not take — if you are pulled over for an inspection or potential driving infraction.
Rather than hopping out of the truck to greet the officer with your paperwork, stay in the cab, remove your sunglasses, stay buckled in and keep your hands on the wheel. Do not reach into the glove box for your papers, until asked as well; any of these moves can make the officer nervous.
DOT officers or state troopers may engage you in conversation to gauge your level of nervousness; they want to determine if you have anything to hide. If your company supplies TVC Pro Driver memberships to handle legal concerns, use that knowledge to calm your nerves so that you do not give the authorities cause to sniff around.
Do not Go Beyond Requests
You also should not give the officers anything more than they ask for. Respond to questions giving the shortest answers possible (and never make a guess when asked if you know why you were pulled over). You will be asked to elaborate if necessary. Also, hand over only the specific document requested. You will not be given diplomacy points for providing extra papers. In the end, even the smallest unintended word or action can be used against you down the road.
When you need to deal with an officer who has flashed blue and red lights at your truck, you should strive to avoid escalating the situation. By following a few common-sense guidelines, you will soon be able to shift your attention back to the driving job at hand.