There are many reasons why a police officer might stop you.
Whatever the reason is for the stop, the officer needs your cooperation. Traffic stops are a very important law enforcement function, which maintains safety throughout our state. Understand that each situation is unique and that an officer must alter his or her response to fit the circumstance. Not only does the officer have to think about the actions and behavior of the occupant(s) within the vehicle, he or she must also be cognizant of the other vehicles driving past on the roadway.
Don't panic - You may feel confused, anxious, angry, or concerned about a possible traffic citation. No matter how long you've been driving, these feelings are natural and occur to almost everyone.
Pull over to the right side of the road - Use your directional signal while pulling over as soon as you can safely do so. Most officers will understand if you slowly drive a short distance to pull into a driveway, parking lot, side street, etc. Do not stop in the middle of the road and do not pull over to the left. Pulling over as far to the right is the safest place for you and the officer.
Turn off the ignition - Even if the ignition is off, you will still be able to and should turn your hazard lights on.
Turn on the interior light - If the stop occurs between dusk and dawn, it is the law to turn on the interior light in your car. This is for the safety of you, the officer, and any passengers who may be in the vehicle.
Keep you hands in plain view or on the steering wheel - This is for your safety and the safety of the officer.
Comply with the officer's requests - The officer will request to see your driver's license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Rhode Island law requires you to provide these items at the request of a officer. If the documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach for them.
Remain in your vehicle - After the officer gathers your documents, he or she will go back to their police cruiser. You should only get out of your vehicle if the officer asks you to.
Ask for clarification if needed - Depending on the reason for the traffic stop, you may be given a traffic citation. If the charge or the ticket is not clear, ask the officer for an explanation in a respectful manner. If you receive a citation, the officer will give you a summons with a court date on it. This allows you to contest the ticket and the opportunity to take your case before a judge.
Merge back into traffic - Using your directional signal, merge with caution back into the flow of traffic. On limited access roadways, safely gain speed in the shoulder before entering fast moving traffic.