Driving Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe When Police Pull You Over at Night.

It can be a scary or unsettling experience to be pulled over at night, even by someone who appears to be a legitimate law enforcement officer. This may be due to a previous upsetting encounter with the police or knowledge of people who impersonate law enforcement and harm innocent individuals. 

Unfortunately, people impersonating a police officer does happen! In November 2023, Andrew James Donald pulled over a driver on the Yellowhead in Edmonton, claiming to be an officer and threatening her with a fine. He had a history of pretending to be law enforcement and harassing others. 

If you are being asked to pull over at night and feel uncomfortable, what should you do?

What To Do

First, consider turning on your hazards to signal that you are aware you are being asked to pull over. Next, call 911 as safely as you can. Ideally, you want to use hands-free calling to not break any local laws on phone usage while driving (and for your safety). 

If you’re driving and a person signals you to pull over, ensure your safety by taking the following steps. First, inform the 911 operator of your location, the vehicle you’re in, and that you’re looking for a safe and well-lit spot to pull over. This will help the operator communicate to the police officer that you’re not trying to escape. You can also ask the operator to confirm that there’s indeed a police officer in the area and that the driver asking you to pull over is a legitimate member of law enforcement.

If the dispatcher confirms that it’s indeed a police officer, look for a well-lit area with a spacious shoulder, such as an exit or a parking lot. It’s important to choose a spot where you feel less isolated from other people and are more visible. Turn on your interior dome lights for additional lighting and increased visibility once you’ve pulled over.

However, if the dispatcher confirms that the person behind you isn’t a member of law enforcement, follow their guidance on what to do next. You might be in a potentially dangerous situation, so staying safe is essential. Impersonating a police officer is illegal in Canada; therefore, the dispatcher will inform the police on your behalf and stay on the line with you, getting details of your driving location and area until legitimate law enforcement arrives or guiding you to the nearest police station.


Nighttime Driving Safety Tips

There are simple tips you can follow to ensure your safety while travelling at night:

Gas Tank: Make sure to keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. This will ensure that in case you ever feel threatened or followed, you have enough fuel to reach the nearest police station without having to stop and risk your safety.


Cell Phone: Make sure your cellphone battery is fully charged before leaving the house, especially at night. In case you need help, you don’t want to find yourself alone with a dead or almost dead battery.

Driving Documents: Ensure that you have all the necessary driving documents with you, including your driver’s license, vehicle insurance, and vehicle registration.

Invite a Friend: It’s always a good idea to travel with a friend or family member at night. Not only is it more enjoyable, but if something were to happen to you or your vehicle, having someone there to help would make you less vulnerable.

Inform Family: Before hitting the road, inform a friend or family member about your travel plans. Let them know your destination, expected arrival time, and when you plan to leave your starting point. Whether you are driving to another city or working late and coming home, it’s important to keep others informed of your whereabouts.


McGuiness Law


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