Driving can be stressful but one thing can make it a bit worse.

Most of my traffic infractions have come to me in the mail. Those are always fun letters to open. The one time I did get pulled over was an obviously marked police car, making it clear the actual authorities did actually catch me. 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
Motor Biscuit

According to Motor Biscuit, Illinois law says unmarked police cars/motorcycles and "semi-marked" cars can patrol and make arrests. However, officers in unmarked cars have to defer to officers in marked police cars during a pursuit.

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

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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