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Have you ever been pulled over, only to notice the cop tap your taillight as he approaches?

Well, according to Life Aspire, it may seem like just a little tap, but when an officer touches a taillight, it has more meaning than most people realize.

The law enforcement ritual of tapping a taillight goes way back to days of policing before dash cams and other new technology.

This way, cops were able to startle many a criminal attempting to stash illegal drugs or guns before the officer saw them. Tapping the taillight has the benefit of startling these criminals before they can finish hiding their stash of ill-gotten goods.

It also leaves behind forensic evidence which proves the officer had contact with the suspect. This might seem trivial, but if an officer is attacked or disappears, it can be the one piece of crucial evidence which connects him with the culprit’s car.

Today, most police cruisers have video cameras installed, but many officers – especially those who have been patrolling for decades – still practice the physical precaution measure out of habit.

Plus, you never know when an extra piece of forensic evidence will come in handy!