You have spent a few months in the States and are eager to visit your uncle in Texas. You drive in your car and on a free highway, step up the engine. Soon you hear sirens blaring and flashing lights behind your car. When you look behind, you could see a police patrol car fast approaching your car. This is your first interaction with the law and you are nervous about dealing with the traffic cop. How do you deal with him in the best manner and avoid a hefty fine and possibly imprisonment? In this situation, polite English conversational skills are your best ally.
Things to remember when handling a traffic cop in a pullover at a foreign location:
1. Pull over immediately
You don't want to relieve a Hollywood scene with 20 cop cars racing after you like chasing a fugitive. When a traffic cop blares his siren behind your car, it is advisable to pull over your car immediately. This will put the officer at ease. Even if the parking spot is not a good one, pull over.
2. Hands on the steering
Always remember to show your hands. Law enforcement officials in other countries, especially western ones, are very strict and on alert each time. Putting your hands in a non-visible area can make them very suspicious. Hence, it is preferable and easier to keep your hands on the steering wheel.
3. Be honest
Never ever lie to a foreign cop. They take their rules seriously and lying can even land you in jail. Traffic cops are experts in finding if you are lying or not. State your genuine reasons politely. The cop may be sympathetic and can write you even a small ticket. Use your English communication skills to convince the cop you have not done anything wrong.
Situation: You are pulled over by a traffic cop on your way to Texas. You park immediately and the officer approaches you.
You: Hello, Officer!
Officer: Hello, do you know why I pulled you over?
You: No, I am afraid I don't know.
Officer: Sir, You are speeding over the limit on this highway. The limit shows 70 km/hr and you were going 90km/hr.
You: I am sorry, I wasn't aware of the speed limit.
Officer: May I see your license and papers please?
You: Sure, just a moment. Here they are.
Officer: Why were you speeding?
You: I am visiting my uncle in Texas, whom I am meeting after 10 years. The highway was free, so I thought I would gain some quick time.
Officer: That may be so, but it is very important to follow the rules. It is for your own safety, you know.
You: Yes, I am really sorry. Will keep my eyes out for speed limit notices in the future.
Officer: Okay. I am writing you a short ticket since you are telling the truth. However, be careful in future.
You: Thank you so much. Am I free to go now?
Officer: Yes, you may.
You: Thank you. Have a great day!
The above sample shows the best way to deal with a traffic cop in a foreign location. It is natural to feel nervous and stressed, but confident communication in English will help you out. You can also take the help of online English teaching programs to further your language skills before venturing out to foreign locales.
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- By Monika Agarwal
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