If you feel unsafe stopping for a police officer on a deserted road while driving alone, is it legal to keep driving until you get to a safer place?


No, it’s not “legal.” If there is an emergency vehicle behind you with its lights and/or siren activated, you’re required to pull to the right side of the road and stop. You stop there, not at some place you find more convenient.

You can, as others have suggested, turn on your emergency flashers to acknowledge the officer, then drive to what you believe is a safer location. However, keep in mind that the officer may perceive you as simply failing to yield, and may place you under arrest when he stops you. Even if he doesn’t arrest you, he’s not going to be in a very pleasant mood.

The lights on top of a police car are a traffic signal. They require you to “pull over to the right and stop.” Ignoring the lights is the same as ignoring any other traffic signal, with the added danger of getting a “fleeing and eluding” charge added to your bill.

So, you are supposed to immediately pull over to a safe location, upon hearing a siren and seeing emergency lights (NC law). However, our department did encourage people to do the following, if they felt unsafe…

Turn on the 4-ways to signal the officer that you know he is there and find a well lighted parking lot to stop in.  Also, you might want to call the local law enforcement agency and tell the communications dispatcher to notify the officer of what you are doing. Once that safe place is found, turn on the interior lights,  roll down the window, and keep your hands in sight.

Bear in mind,  this might hieghten the officer’s anxiety as vehicle stops are the most dangerous thing an officer does… but once everything is explained, I’m sure the officer (if he or she is worthy of the badge) will take your actions into consideration.

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