If you’ve ever been pulled over by a police officer, then you may have noticed them touching your tail light.
Now, this may sound weird, but they do it for a reason. And there’s an extensive history behind it!
Back in the day, the police officers tapped on the tail light to intimidate the driver. After all, it’s much easier to arrest someone who is vulnerable and confused.
Another reason the police officers touch your tail lights is to leave evidence that you’ve been pulled over before.
According to the criminal defense attorney and DWI/DUI lawyer Joe Hoelscher, “Leaving a thumbprint on the brake light is an old-school way to tag a car with a fingerprint. So it can be identified conclusively as the vehicle involved in a stop should the officer become incapacitated.”
When you think about it, it’s pretty smart. Let’s say that the driver shoots or kills the officer who approached his vehicle. Their fingerprints are now on his tail light.
Hoelscher warns that you should always wipe your tail lights after an interaction with the police officer.
Otherwise, the fingerprints will be visible, and “the next officer might be more aggressive realizing you’ve had another law enforcement interaction recently.”
With the installation of dashcams, tapping on tail lights is no longer necessary. However, some cops still do it to this day, as they believe it’s efficient during routine stops.
According to them, tail light tapping has increased the arrest numbers of drug dealers, drunk drivers, and those possessing unlicensed firearms.
Some police officers also practice trunk tapping. In that case, one officer usually taps on the tail light or trunk, while the other one will speak with the driver.
The trunk and tail light tapping were common in the ’60s and ’70s when radical crime groups would attack police officers when pulled over. However, nowadays, the police academy seems to be against it.
The police academy warns the officers to stay away from the rear of the vehicle in case the driver decides to back up and run them over.
Some officers tap on tail lights to see what’s going on in the backseat of the car. You never know what illegal items could be stored in there.
But touching tail lights isn’t the only way cops make sure you aren’t carrying anything illegal in the backseat of your car. They use plenty of other strategies to catch drivers in the act.
Sometimes they leave their doors open in case they need to access their radios. So if you’re armed and dangerous, they can call for backup immediately.
If two police officers pull you over, one will usually go to another side of the vehicle to ensure everything is under control.
You may have also noticed that police officers always shine their fleshlight into windows. They don’t do it because they want to disturb the passengers, but to see everything and everyone inside.
However, more often than not, they may come off as rude and inconsiderate as they shine the flashlight in your eyes. But they only do so to ensure you’re not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
According to statistics, police officers are more likely to pull over a car full of four men because, on average, young males are more likely to commit a crime.
Cops are also more likely to give a ticket to the driver who is unnecessarily difficult to communicate with.
According to a defense attorney in Florida, “The ranks of cops are young and competitive. They’re in competition with one another and intra-departmentally. It becomes a game. Policing isn’t about keeping streets safe, it’s about statistical success. The question for them is, who can put the most people in jail?”
This is why cops may come off as aggressive and rude while questioning you. They are hoping you will react in a way that would allow them to write you a ticket or even arrest you.
So next time, think twice before starting an argument with the police officer during a traffic stop. And the best thing you can do to avoid getting a ticket or being arrested is to be invisible to law enforcement.
” If the police can’t see you, they can’t arrest you,” Carson says. According to him, there are two things police officers are aiming for during an interaction, “psychological dominance and custody of your body.”
“Being questioned by police is insulting,” he said, “It is, however, less insulting than being arrested. What I’m advising you to do when questioned by police is pocket the insult. This is difficult and emotionally painful.”
Carson also explained that “cops don’t like smiles.” So be honest and kind to the officers, but don’t smile at them.
Stay on guard and if things aren’t in your favor, ask for alternatives to being arrested.
Also, please don’t keep any illegal items in your car and don’t speed while driving. Otherwise, you will have a lot more to worry about than wiping your tail lights.
Police officers have figured out many ways to keep themselves one step ahead of you. So, it’s better not to risk it.