You've been stopped by a cop, now what? - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

You've been stopped by a cop, now what?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Getting pulled over by an officer can happen to any of us, it's about knowing what you should do to make sure the process goes smoothly for all parties involved.

Cpl. Sonny Collins with South Carolina Highway Patrol said in a routine traffic stop, the first thing they ask you to do, is find a safe location. Either pull onto the shoulder, or a nearby parking lot. Then, stay in the car. You should never get out, unless you're told to do so.

"One of the bigger items on the traffic stop is when we see a lot of movement in vehicles and we're not sure what's going on,” said Cpl. Collins. “That's why its so important if you're the driver, just keep your hands visible, on the steering wheel is a safe place and let the trooper come to you."

When they approach the car, they'll tell you why you're being stopped. They'll ask for your license, insurance and registration, which is why its a good idea to just have them all in one place.

"When the trooper returns he will explain that ticket to you,” said Cpl. Collins, “If a charge has been made and that's your opportunity, make sure you ask all questions you need to ask."

If you have an issue with the ticket, save the argument for court.

What if you're unsure how to handle the situation? Let's say you see blue lights, but you don't feel safe pulling over. Troopers prefer you put your safety first.

"What we ask you to do is obviously reduce your speed and signal so we know you're going to go up the road to a more well lit spot,” said Cpl. Collins. “That is perfectly fine with us, we understand that and the trooper will follow you to that location."

If you're unsure if a trooper is behind you, maybe its an unmarked car, just dial *HP or *47. That goes to the dispatch center. If you let them know where you are, Cpl. Collins said they will tell you very quickly if there is a state trooper behind you.

For your and the troopers safety, your interaction is being recorded on their dash cam. If you want to keep your own record, Cpl. Collins said you are allowed to ask to take out your own camera and record, that is your right.

Myrtle Beach Police lieutenant Joey Crosby said the best thing you can do is comply with the officer's request. If you feel violated for any reason, he said there are complaint processes you can take up with each department.

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