It eventually happens to all of us at one point or another. You’re driving down the road just minding your own business and you suddenly see those dreaded red and blue lights flashing right behind you. “Am I being stopped,” you ask yourself,” as you nervously look for a place to pull over.
Most people I know talk about how an idiot cop pulled them over and gave them a ticket for no apparent good reason such as because he or she was trying to meet a quota for the month or because of an obvious attitude problem.
I know better! These are the same people we wouldn’t hesitate to call “a hero” when they rescue someone from a burning car or when they nab the bad guy who just victimized you.
Many people also complain about how when a police officer was through with giving them a citation it made them feel about two inches tall after being verbally abused for committing a traffic infraction.
It’s understandable to feel embarrassed, and rightly so, when you are going 45 mph in a school zone but here are some tips on how to get out of a speeding ticket even when it seems you have no chance, while preserving your dignity:
1. You will usually know when the subject of a traffic stop is you. When you see a police cruiser very close to you with flashing lights in your rear view mirror this may be your first clue! Sometimes the cop will talk on their built-in megaphone thingy and you will be told to “pull over.” It’s important to pull over in a safe area, preferably to the safest road shoulder, as soon as safely possible. Don’t make the officer feel like you were ignoring their command to pull over.
2. Do not exit the vehicle! If you have tinted windows, roll all of them down. If not, just roll down your driver’s side window and for whomever else is in the car. This helps to dispel an alarm for the officer; if a cop walks up to the car and all the tinted windows are rolled up, he or she will prepare themselves for the worst. Try your best to make them feel like you are not a threat to them.
3. Do not reach into your glove compartment until they come to your window. If you make a move while the car is in motion or when it is stopped while they are behind you, they will assume you may have pulled out a weapon. Once again, make them feel as safe as possible; they will appreciate it and it will be your best chance to avoid getting a traffic citation.
4. Place the car in “park,” turn your engine off, and wait for them to come to your window. Keep your hands in plain sight so they can easily see them and always let them speak first.
5. Let the police officer speak first so he or she can ask for your license and registration and in some states, your insurance ID. If it’s in your glove compartment, let the officer know by saying, “Here’s my license. My registration’s in my glove box,” and reach over slowly.
6. If the police officer asks if you are aware of how fast your car was traveling you should always say, “Yes.” This is because you don’t want to make it seem as if you are lying or that you have disregarded the speed limit out of your own convenience. If the cop asks you if you know why you were stopped, reply by saying, “No.” You don’t want to admit fault for one of the many other types of traffic infractions, especially when you may not even know for sure why you were stopped. You’re not lying here; you are simply waiting for the cop to tell you what you did wrong.
7. Don’t volunteer any information, answer the questions directly without adding any other facet to that answer, and avoid engaging in a friendly or informal conversation.
8. Never tell or admit to an officer that you were in a hurry if asked. If you admit this, you are bound to get a ticket in the name of public safety. While we are on the subject, don’t offer any excuses unless you have a truly serious one such as, “I’m so sorry officer, my wife is having a baby as we speak.”
9. Be as courteous as possible to the police officer in a sincere manner. Cops can spot B.S. right away and they know when someone is taking them “for a loop.”
10. Regardless of whether or not you receive any type of ticket, stay courteous and either thank the officer for the warning or apologize for the infraction. If you decide to give the cop an attitude, there’s a chance you may face further scrutiny, possibly another ticket, or even an arrest!
In summary, if you want to have the best chance to get out of a speeding ticket; you need to pull over safely and avoid looking like you are a threat to the officer, you need to be courteous and honest about your speed, you need to wait for the cop to tell you what you did wrong, and you need to convey to the officer that you take speed zones seriously. You will more than likely be treated with respect and you will soon be on your merry way either with holes in your pockets or none at all. These tips can easily place you in the best possible position to get out of a ticket unscathed but getting out a speeding ticket is a crap shoot!