Have you ever wondered why cops touch your car’s tail light after they pull you over? It seems to be one of the many things they do that everyone hates after being stopped. The other thing is, of course, how they take their sweet time in giving you the ticket, almost like they don’t really care that they’re wasting your time. But usually when they perform routine actions like touching our tail light, it can make us feel nervous as hell, even when we know we have nothing to worry about. But there’s a reason behind why they do the things they do.The act of touching a tail light goes back to the humble beginnings when cops started patrolling the streets and highways.
Cops were doing it in the hopes of catching a driver or passenger off guard. After all, it’s not uncommon for people to try and hide guns or drugs right after they’ve been pulled over.
This would prevent them from hiding their stash just long enough for the officer who stopped their vehicle to find the contraband and confiscate it.
The reason they touch your tail lights is to leave lots of evidence behind, particularly, that they’ve been there, in case you’re crooked as hell and incapacitate the cop and foolishly try to get away with murder.
So when they do find the vehicle of the owner responsible for attacking or killing an officer, they’ll be able to match it and the owner to those responsible for the incident.
Keep in mind that this is an old practice, and most police vehicles come fully equipped with cameras. So the tail light tapping is really an unnecessary step.
The noise made while tapping can help criminals identify the exact location of the police officer, especially if it’s at night and dark.
Some might even call it a rite of passage or a way of honoring those officers who came before them. Either way, it’s simply not something they have to do, and some officers have even done away with the tradition.
Unfortunately, it’s bad news for a cop as it can make it easier for a criminal to shoot or harm them if they know where they’re standing at that moment. This is why police departments are asking cops not to tail light tap anymore.
You know you did something wrong, especially if you’re hiding something you shouldn’t have in your car. The tapping boosts a bit of surprise inside the people who are in the vehicle.
In fact, many cops claim that it’s increased the arrest of intoxicated drivers, drug dealers, and drivers possessing unlicensed firearms.
With the conflicting feelings some people have about law enforcement, some cops feel that it’s necessary to practice this physical safety precaution anyway.
Most shady drivers don’t bother trying to harm the officer. Instead, they foolishly try to drive away doing 90. But with the risk of there being more than one model with the same metallic paint color, this method allows cops to verify that they have the right vehicle.
Sure, they might tap the tail light, but they’ll also push the trunk lid down to avoid having someone pop up out of the trunk and ambush them… and yes, this does happen sometimes.
In cities like New York, NYPD officers often drive with a partner. So when they stop someone, the passenger cop will knock on the fender or trunk. This will make the drive turn his head towards the right rear, allowing the driving officer to take a peek at his lap, hands, and floor to make sure they’re not carrying a weapon.
It was actually more useful in the 60s and 70s when radical crime groups ambushed officers out of the blue. Of course, today most trunks are light weight wouldn’t stay down if unlatched while driving.
They do, however, suggest that they put their hands on the side of the vehicle, where most tail lights curve into anyway. This will prevent the owner of the vehicle from backing up and running the officer over.
Officer Jason Shaw, K-9, THI, patrol supervisor, and firearms instructor, claimed that on two separate occasions, an elderly gentleman failed to put the shift stick all the way in park and it slipped back down into reverse. When the driver hit his gas instead of the brake, it crashed into the patrol car, nearly hurting him in the process.
Sometimes, it’s simply the best position to see in the back seat in case the driver is hiding something back there as well like alcohol, drugs, or weapons.
This is why tail light tapping is such a tactical advantage because they driver might aim and allow you those precious seconds to duck, or his aim might suck, giving the officer a chance to draw his weapon and fire.
Since it’s recommended that officers hug the side of the vehicle as they tap the tail light, officers in Guam, where the ocean and light showers mix with the ground up sea shells used on the roads, and leave a fine coat of salt and white dirt, wound up with white milky dust covering on the right hand side pocket area of their pants.
In most cases, the trunk lid won’t be secure and the key lock will be punched out if the vehicle’s been stolen. So the tail light tapping simply gives officers time to do a proper inspection to check for anything out of the ordinary.
Personally, we thought it was to see if the tail light was in one piece and functioning okay as most states have rules and requirements for drivers regarding a faulty tail light.
A criminal could hide their stash of drugs in there and no one would be any wiser. So this was a perfectly natural assumption as to why cops would have tapped someone’s tail lights. But of course, we were wrong.
It just comes to show you that you’re never too old to learn something new. At least the next time a cop taps your tail light you can just sit back and relax, cause there’s really nothing to worry about.