Skip to main content

“I wish I could pull him over,” my friend uttered as he followed a police car. I chuckled a bit and understood what he meant. Getting followed by a police car is one of the most nerve-racking experiences when driving, even if you’re not doing anything wrong. The fear of getting a costly ticket or at least wasting a lot of your time on the way to your destination makes getting pulled over one of the least recommended experiences in life.

However, following a cop car is a different story. You obviously aren’t intimidating the cop, but there’s a feeling of freedom that comes with trailing a police car. They can’t pull you over if you’re behind them. But is it illegal to follow a cop car?

Are there any consequences of following a police car?

A rear view of a police SUV pulled over on the road
A cop car parked on the side of the road | via Getty Images

In short, it is not illegal to follow a police car when driving normally. Of course, the regular rules of the road apply when doing so. This means that you shouldn’t tailgate the police car, shine your high beams at them, or make obscene gestures. We also wouldn’t recommend consuming illegal substances when following a police car either, as the cop can see you in the rearview mirror and possibly pull you over if they get behind you.

Is it illegal to pass a cop car while driving on the road?

The "Serve and Protect" sign on a cop car
The “Serve and Protect” sign on a police car | via Getty Images

Another scenario that involves driving near police cars is passing them on the road. We’re talking about those times when you’re cruising on the highway at the speed limit, and there’s a cop in the next lane cruising under the speed limit. Do you pass the car and maintain your speed or get behind him like he’s leading the Macy’s Day parade?

You can technically pass the cop car if you’re not speeding. According to a story from The Drive, “It’s OK to do it – if done legally.” If the officer sees you driving by at a high rate of speed or doing something illegal, they may pull you over. However, if you’re traveling the speed limit and obeying all the laws, they may not.

Either way, the officer may do a quick visual inspection of you as it passes, so we hope your taillights are in working order and registration is up to date.

Is it illegal to help the police during a car chase?

A couple of police at a traffic stop
Police traffic stop | via Getty Images

Following a police car when driving normally is one thing, but following one during a car chase is another. Although there isn’t a set rule on following a cop car during a chase, it’s recommended not to do so. Following a police car during a chase could put you and other cars around you in danger, and you could get in trouble for getting involved with the incident.

The best thing to do is pull over and let the police do their job. Staying out of the way is the best thing you can do. Otherwise, stay safe on the road, obey the speed limits, and if you end up behind a police car, don’t do anything illegal.