The reflections of a mountain and highway are seen in the side-view mirror of a vehicle. Photo by Jack Hodges on Unsplash

You’re driving on the roadways of Banff National Park when something catches your eye in the side-view mirror: the flashing red and blue lights of a police car.

Your heart rate increases as you wonder, what should I do?

Remain calm and follow the next steps when pulled over by the police in Canada.

1. Pull Over In A Safe Location

When the police are behind you with their emergency lights flashing and/or their siren on, you need to immediately move to a safe location to either allow them to pass or stop safely behind your vehicle.

Carefully and legally stop your vehicle with space for two at:

  • The right edge of the road on a two-way roadway.

  • The nearest edge of the road on a one-way roadway.

A parked car gets pulled over by prankster police officers in the comedy Super Troopers.


Where is the best place to pull over?

2. Ensure That Your Vehicle Won't Move

After you have stopped, ensure your vehicle’s transmission is in the PARK gear (automatic transmission) or the NEUTRAL gear (manual-shift transmission).

Apply the emergency parking brake and remain in your vehicle.

A hand is pulling the emergency break in a car.

3. Prepare Your Vehicle & Yourself

  • Turn off your music to be able to hear the officer loud and clear and vice versa.

  • If it's dark outside, turn on your interior light.

  • Roll down your window.

  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel and always where the officer can see them.

A young man smiles joyfully with both his hands on the steering wheel.

4. Follow Police Instructions

The police officer will give you instructions when they approach your vehicle. Let them speak first, and remember that they can use anything you say as evidence in court.

  • Remain calm, cooperative and polite.

  • Provide your license, registration and vehicle insurance as requested after telling the officer where they are located.

  • Provide a breath sample or complete a sobriety test as requested — it's illegal to refuse one, so you'll be charged with an offense if you don't comply !

A hand holds the McLovin drivers license from the comedy movie Superbad.

5. Vehicle Search And Fines

The police officer can look in your windows and may use a flashlight if it is dark. They may also search your car if they have grounds to believe that there are illegal substances or evidence relating to the commission of a crime in the vehicle.

  • You have a right to refuse the search of your vehicle and call your lawyer.

  • If you receive a ticket, accept it calmly.

  • Exit or move your vehicle only when the police officer tells you to.

Steve accepts a speeding ticket with enthusiasm in the movie A Night at the Roxbury.


The officer issues you a ticket but you do not agree to the charges laid. What should you do?

Take Action

A woman rolling down her car window and smiling. Prepare for your next trip behind the wheel, and verify the following:

Curious about your rights when being pulled over? Read up on your civil rights when dealing with police in Canada.


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