There's one thing to know about driving that I didn't learn in Driver's Ed.

Most of my traffic infractions have come to me in the mail but there was one time I was pulled over by a marked police car for driving with my lights off at night. Oops.

It's not uncommon to see someone pulled over with an unmarked car that has blue and red flashing lights or to catch one lurking in an alley or popular speeding spot. If they're too good at the undercover thing, they don't look any different from any other car.

What To Know About Unmarked Police Cars

Motor Biscuit/Ford Motor Company
Motor Biscuit/Ford Motor Company

According to Motor Biscuit, Wisconsin law says that police can use an unmarked car for patrol and traffic stops if it's equipped with red and blue flashing lights.

The scary thing about unmarked police cars pulling you over is that you don't know if it's legit or some creep.

What To Do If An Unmarked Police Car Pulls You Over

Don't just think the worst and zoom off. Acknowledge the police officer and pull the car over. But you are well within your rights to question the validity of the car, according to law firms and State Farm.

If you're concerned about the legitimacy of the car that pulled you over you can:

  • Pull your car into a public area, like a gas station or hospital lot
  • Call 911 or the police station to verify the make/model/location of the car. They can tell you if there's an officer nearby.
  • Ask to see the badge and photo ID of the officer that comes to your window. If they refuse to present it, request to call another officer.

Many police say they don't pull people over if they're in unmarked patrol cars unless the person commits a serious traffic violation.

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