Police officers are not out to make your life miserable, but to make sure you're following the rules of the road and not endangering yourself or those around you.
With a few exceptions, and an egregious traffic violation is top among them, cops aren't mandated to write tickets. Most would rather send you on your way with a friendly warning -- that can save you time and money.
But handle the situation with an aggressive or arrogant attitude and you can expect to squeeze an expensive court date into your busy schedule.
1. Play Nice
First rule: don't argue.
"I get this all the time," said Karen Rittorno, a nine-year veteran with the Chicago Police Department. "'What are you stopping me for? I didn't do nothing.' If they try to take charge of the traffic stop, they're not going to get out of it without a ticket," she said. "We ask the questions, not them."
2. Keep It Honest
Don't lie, either. Cops are trained to note the human characteristics of lying, including twitching and looking to the left, and they know the right questions to ask to suss out the truth.
Fanning estimates that nine out of 10 people lie to him. "It's an attack on our intelligence," he said.
3. Stay Calm
When those headlights go on, it's best to pull the car to the right, stay in the car, turn the interior lights on if it's dark and put your hands on the steering wheel.
Don't make any quick movements, and don't turn to grab your purse or put your hands in your pocket or under your seat to retrieve your license -- until the officer instructs you to. Then, do it slowly.