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Ever Wondered Why Cops Touch Your Car’s Tail Light After Pulling You Over?

 According to various sources on the internet, as from 2014 there are at least 1.2 billion drivers on our roads internationally. As claimed by many polls, surveys and reports, Americans spend an average of around 17,600 minutes driving cars each year; that's almost a staggering 300 hours per year spent in vehicles alone! Naturally as drivers (all over the world), we try and follow the rules of the road as best we can, yet from time to time we can all expect to be pulled over by a cop. Of course everyone in the world hates being stopped by the police, and even more so being issued traffic tickets due to violations. To make matters even worse, they (cops) tend to have certain routine actions (after pulling us over), that further makes our nerves 'shot'.

Read below to find out more.

(Please note that images used throughout this article are for illustration purposes only)

The tail light tap

 One such routine, as mentioned above, that cops love doing is the infamous 'tail light tap'.

A bit of history lies in the reason

 According to Marilyn Caylor of, "the ritual of touching a tail light actually goes back to the good old days of policing the highways. Before the invention of dash cams, policemen were super sneaky with their tactics. But don't worry, they weren't crooked cops or doing anything illegal. In fact, these law enforcement officers were actually hoping to catch the driver or passengers unawares. You see, it's not uncommon for people to try and hide their illicit drugs or guns right after they are pulled over by a cop. Tapping the tail light has the benefit of startling these criminals before they can finish hiding their stash of ill-gotten goods."

Yet another interesting reason

 The article goes on to say that another interesting reason why policemen touch rear lights is that "it leaves evidence and lots of it!"


 If you think about it, this ritual is actually ingenious in that if the officer touches your car's rear light, his fingerprints will be there to find should you decide to attack him or worse, kill him.

Just a ritual

 These days, however, most police vehicles come fully equipped with cameras, making the 'tail light tap' habit a totally unnecessary one. In fact, those officers who still practice the 'tail light tap' today just do so out of the ritualistic behavior.

A dangerous habit

 In this day in age, police departments are said to be advising cops not to practice the ritual of tail light tapping anymore. The reason being that the noise made whilst tapping can make it easier for criminals to identify the exact location of a cop they might wish to shoot or do other harm to; especially in the dark.

Not at all what I thought

I really found all this information so interesting when first reading about it. In closing, I would just like to add that I always believed the reason behind the tail light tap was because the cop was checking to make sure the car's lights were all intact and in a legal state.

Just goes to show that we are never too old to learn something new.



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