If you’ve ever seen police lights flashing in your back window, you know a wave of panic hits you. You could feel scared even if you haven’t done anything wrong and you aren’t sure why you were pulled over, so knowing the right and wrong ways to deal with a traffic stop in Ontario before you’re stopped is the best way to move on with your day.
Let’s start with the wrong way: a police officer was on patrol in Ontario when he saw a vehicle stuck in the snow. This type of traffic stop is part of the job for police in Canada, and after he called a tow truck and had the vehicle pulled out of the ditch, the female driver came up to him and gave him a hug. That was the wrong thing for her to do, because when she hugged him he detected alcohol on her breath, and felt he had reason to ask her to submit to a breathalyzer test. When she did, she was charged with impaired driving. There are two lessons here: don’t drink and drive, and when you do, don’t hug the police officer who stops to help you.
Police have the right to stop you at any time to check and see if you’ve been drinking and driving, distracted driving, or whether you have a valid drivers license and insurance. The right way to deal with a traffic stop in Ontario is to pull over when indicated and provide your legal documents when requested. If you don’t immediately pull over safely when a police officer is indicating you must, you could be fined up to $10,000. If you decide to have him give chase, you could see fines up to $25,000.
You are legally obligated to provide your drivers license, proof of vehicle insurance, and proof of ownership. Although you are not legally obligated to answer questions and you can even refuse to do so, you might not want to: people who are polite, cooperative, and answer questions may see their fine for speeding or some other violation reduced or be let go with a warning.
Getting off with a ticket or a warning only applies if you haven’t been drinking and driving. When you are pulled over for impaired driving in Canada, you could immediately lose your drivers license, have your vehicle impounded, and will be facing a court date to determine what other penalties you’ll receive.
Drive safely, drive sober, and the next time you see lights flashing in your rear window, pull over and cooperate. It can make all the difference.