(WTVM) - Recently, our news department reported on what motorists need to know and the rules they need to follow when police officers stop a vehicle.
It hardly seems necessary to report on such common sense rules and requirements.
However, we so often hear of cases in which motorists make a routine traffic stop a much more dangerous event by arguing or even fighting the police.
Most of us were taught as children that the police are doing an important job, but respect for the police seems to be at an all-time low because of high profile incidents in which police have resorted to deadly force.
However, most police encounters are not in that category.
Emotions can run high during a traffic stop. You may feel the officer is stopping you for no good reason. But remember, these officers are doing a thankless and difficult job.
If you are stopped for having a broken headlight, it may help you avoid an accident later because another motorist can't see you.
If you're speeding, the officer giving you a ticket may have saved your life, or the life of the child you will never see because you're driving way too fast.
If you've had too much to drink and an officer stops you for weaving through traffic, that stop is a life-saving public service to every other motorist on the road.
Responsible drivers are smart enough to calmly comply with the officer's commands. They know not to argue or threaten the officer.
If you feel the officer stopped you for no reason, you can and should follow up in court or make a complaint with the police department - but do it later.
At the time of the traffic stop, the police make clear commands that everyone should follow for their own safety.