Pulled Over? What Should Your Teen Do?

I remember the first time I saw the blue and red lights in my rear-view mirror. My heart sunk, and I began to panic. Why? Because I did not know what to do in the situation that I was getting pulled over. Although we hope that our teens will always be driving safely and correctly, there are instances where they will also see the blue and red lights in their rear-view mirror. It is best that they are educated and know what to do to reduce anxiety and ensure that they are proceeding safely to reduce the risk of collision. Throughout this blog, I will discuss different situations that your teen needs to be prepared for.

Getting Pulled Over

When your teen sees a police officer behind them with their lights on, your teen needs to pull over safely. They will have a hundred questions running through their head. “Was I speeding?” “Did I make an improper turn?” Regardless of why the officer is pulling your teen over, the following steps should be followed to keep your teen, the officer, and other vehicles safe. Instruct your teen to:

Emergency Services

Emergency services such as police, fire, and ambulances alert other drivers on the road by using their lights and sirens. If your teen sees or hears sirens, they need to be alert and ready to move safely out of the way to allow the emergency vehicles to pass. The following are some great rules to share and remind your teen when they are driving and see emergency services:

Approaching from Behind

Flip this card to learn more about what your teen should do if they see an emergency services vehicle approaching from behind them.
When emergency services are approaching from the rear, instruct your teen to safely and calmly pull over to the right side of the road.


Flip this card to learn more about what your teen should do if they are at or in an intersection when they see an emergency services vehicle approaching.
If your teen is at an intersection and they see emergency services approaching from another opening in the intersection, ensure that they come to a complete stop (unless they are blocking the intersection) to allow the vehicle to clear. If your teen is already in the intersection, instruct them to proceed out of the intersection and move to the right side of the road until the emergency vehicle passes.

Check Stops

As stated by the Alberta Impaired Driving Defence (2017), the purpose of a check stop “is to detain motor vehicles and check for impaired drivers.” Check stops are especially prominent during later hours of the evening and holiday seasons or long weekends. These stops are designed to keep society safe from impaired drivers. If your teen sees a check stop approaching, the following steps can be followed to ensure that they are prepared and proceeding safely.

  1. When a check stop is ahead, instruct your teen to slow down and pay close attention to police officers on the roadway.
  2. As they approach the stop, watch for any officers directing to pull over or to proceed.
  3. If your teen is instructed to proceed, have them safely move through the check stop and resume their driving as per usual.
  4. If your teen is directed to pull over, an officer will direct them where to pull over.
  5. Once pulled over safely, your teen will need to roll down the driver’s side window, answer any questions asked by the officer and provide them with documents they may request (license, registration, insurance).
  6. Once the traffic stop has been completed, your teen may proceed when directed by an officer and resume their driving as per usual.


If and when your teen sees an accident, advise them to slow down and switch lanes when possible. If the accident is blocking the road, it is best to try and find an alternative route. Remind your teen to proceed with caution only when safe! Remind your teen to:

  • Scan the road for debris from the accident
  • Scan the road for people who may be walking around the scene of the accident

Remember, education is power! The more that your teen knows, the safer a driver they will be when they take on the roads independently. For more resources to help prepare your newly driving teen, visit our homepage to learn about the Coaching New Drivers program.


Alberta Impaired Driving Defence. (2017, November 24). What Is the Alberta Checkstop Program? [Blog]. Retrieved from http://aidd.ca/alberta-checkstop-program/#:~:text=The%20purpose%20of%20the%20Alberta,when%20social%20drinking%20is%20common.

Coach Bill

Coach Bill

Bill is the Managing Partner of Coaching New Drivers and has a vast background in driver education. Bill is passionate about technology-based driver assessment and has gained extensive knowledge and experience through lecturing on driving topics across North America, Australia, and Asia. Bill is a parent to two teens who he has also successfully coached during the Learner’s permit stage.

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