Top 10 Reasons Police Will Pull You Over While Driving

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Last updated January 16, 2024

Luck is nothing more than the residue of design. –Maxim

We’ve all heard people’s stories of unfair police, setting speeding traps, being unreasonable, and so on. For those of us who have avoided run-ins with law while driving, and have not accrued a mountain of traffic tickets, people often say, “Geez you’re lucky you never get pulled over, I get nailed by the police all the time!”

Well sadly, for all intensive purposes, there is no such thing as luck. Luck is a fanciful idea, similar to hopes, dreams, and wishes. There is no guarantee that luck will be on your side, that your hopes will be met, dreams achieved, or wishes granted. We live in a cold harsh world, which contrary to what many may believe, is filled with absolute certainties. With that in mind, it’s best if we understand that what people refer to as “luck”, is really nothing more than the residue of design. How you design something entirely creates the chance of all possible outcomes.

So when driving, have you considered the residue of your designs? Do you know the things that drastically increase your chance of being pulled over? Because next time you breeze through a red light, coast through a stop sign, or are speeding on your way home and notice a police cruiser that has not turned on its lights to chase you down, that is not attributed to luck. The police officer either didn’t see you, or had something more important to do. There is no luck present in that scenario, if they did notice you and had the time, no doubt they would have pulled you over. So without further ado, lets discuss what you should be aware of when driving to avoid being pulled over.

Driving Over The Speed Limit

Nothing will catch a police officer’s attention more than speeding, and more than that, excessive speeding. With speed cameras often placed around cities and at certain intersections, it’s even more important not to speed because nowadays, a police officer doesn’t even need to be in site for you to receive a speeding ticket.

Illegal Use Of A Phone

Many states currently have anti-texting laws in place, and rightly so. Doing anything but pay attention while you are driving does nothing more than distract you, and focus is certainly required while behind the wheel. But an officer can see you holding your phone or you looking into your lap for a long period of time and assume you are texting or simply fiddling with your phone. Remember, anti-texting laws don’t simply mean you are physically texting. You could be reading a text, Facebook updates, emails, or anything else and would fall under these laws. People are still allowed to talk on their phones, but even that is discouraged. So unless you are at a stop light, keep your phone away. There’s no need to tempt police.

Hazardous Driving

Peeling out at stop lights, swerving, and overall just erratic driving is a huge red flag for police officers. They can assume you are racing, drunk, under the influence of drugs, and any other number of things. And you have to remember that police don’t have to “know” you are racing, drunk, or driving on drugs. They just have to have reason to believe that, and if you’re all over the place on the road driving like Evel Knievel, they have all the right to believe just that.

Equipment Violations

There are reasons we have the laws in place that we do. Headlights allow you to see at night, as well as allow others to see you. Turn signals and brake lights help to alert other drivers of your intentions. A crack in your windshield obstructs your vision. Even overly tinted windows reduce visibility, which is a danger when driving. Bumpers are securely attached to protect you and other drivers in the event of an accident. Rear view mirrors help so you know what is going on around you. In the end, there are numerous reasons for the laws we have in place for properly functioning vehicle equipment, and if any of those seem to be damaged or improperly working, a police officer will pull you over.


The law of the road is for every 10mph you are traveling, you are to provide 1 car length, roughly 15 ft, between you and the vehicle in front of you. Oddly, this seems excessive when you imagine what the highway looks like during rush hour. But if you do not follow this, and follow the vehicle in front of you too closely, you can be pulled over and ticketed. Now, considering there is no real way to determine the exact footage between two vehicles moving, it’s up to the officers discretion. But understand, if you’re traveling 45mph and are around 2 car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you, this is noticeable and knowing the exact footage doesn’t matter for an officer to pull you over.

Improper Lane Changes

When you switch lanes there are a few things to keep in mind. 1. Never change lanes traveling through an intersection. 2. Never change lanes over solid colors road lines. 3. You need to provide 3 seconds of warning, meaning the use of your blinker, before switching lanes to allow other drivers to account for your vehicle moving over. If you go against any of those three points, an officer will notice immediately and pull you over.

Driving Too Slowly

Most people are in a rush to get where they are going. So it is extremely suspicious when an officer sees a vehicle driving too far below the speed limit. They can assume something is wrong, you’re drunk or high, and any other number of possible problems. It is also illegal to travel too slow on some roads, mainly the highway. If you’re in the left lane in a 65 mph area, and are only going 45 mph, you are putting other drivers at risk for driving too slowly. The extra 20 mph may not be accounted for when a vehicle is approaching or changing lanes and can cause driver to become erratic due to being impatient. It’s an odd law, because you would think the slower the safer, but on certain roadways this is not the case.

Using The Left Lane Without Having To Pass

You shouldn’t continually use the left lane unless you are passing other vehicles. In fact, that is the only reason there left lanes, which are meant to be used in passing. What it has turned into is a lane for those that want to go faster, but that was not its purpose. Unless you have a turn coming up, or are passing a person in the right lane, stay in the right lane. The left lane is closest to the left lane of the oncoming direction, and to keep everyone safer, those lanes are intended to stay open unless needed. If you are all alone on the road, and have been driving in the left lane for a while, albeit even going the speed limit, it gives police officers a reason to at least take note of you. And when trying to avoid being pulled over all together, being noticed for any reason is unwanted.

Failure To Wear A Seatbelt

Click it or ticket! We’ve all heard that slogan before and the bark of it is much better than the bite. There is no worse feeling than being pulled over, and when asked if you know why you were pulled over, while not knowing, the police officer mentions they noticed you didn’t have your seatbelt on. The fine associated with this is often steep as well. So to avoid being given a ticket because you weren’t protecting yourself, do yourself a favor. Wear your seatbelt, protect yourself, and protect your hard earned cash as well. It takes 4 seconds to put your seatbelt on, which is better than brain damage or a $160 ticket.

Questionable Activities

If you are driving around, there could be many things going on in your car which to an outsider may look much different. Smoking a cigarette may look like a joint of marijuana, drinking a bottled soda may look like a beer. Asking your kid to get something out of the backseat may look like your allowing your child to romp all over the vehicle without wearing a seatbelt. Point being, there are a number of things to be self-aware of, and though you will certainly feel it’s not fair you were pulled over, from the police officers perspective, it was a vastly different story.

The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @JakabokBotch. When I’m not writing about existing driving laws on behalf of a Boulder DUI Attorney, I’m generally reviewing and scrutinizing proposed and upcoming traffic laws in Colorado.