I take pride in saying that I have never been pulled over before. Parking tickets? Absolutely. But speeding or distracted driving? Never. But from what I hear, it can be a pretty scary experience. Most people are nervous when officers gesture them to pull over, which is fair. I can't think of the last time someone got pulled over so a cop could congratulate them on their good driving skills.
If you have been pulled over, you may have noticed that the officer will often tap on your trunk or back taillight before approaching your window. Many assume this is an intimidation tactic to make the driver more uncomfortable, but there are actually two reasons they do it!
The first reason is fairly basic: they want to make sure you're not trying to hide anything. Most people try to hide drugs or weapons when pulled over by a cop, expecting to only see the officer at their window. But if there's a tap on the taillight, criminals are more likely to panic and disrupt their process. This can make it easier to catch them involved in illegal activity.
Sounds pretty basic, right? Just a run-of-the-mill tactic to assert your dominance. However there's another, much more serious, reason that officers will tap your taillight.