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How to Avoid Getting a Traffic Ticket

“Where on earth is that parking garage?” My head was spinning while driving through downtown Detroit. At that moment, I wanted desperately to be standing in Comerica Park, watching the Detroit Tigers taking batting practice instead of driving in circles looking for the apparent phantom parking garage that I remembered from years past. After 20 minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, I officially threw in the towel and decided to hunt for one of those crappy paved lots where you just hope and pray that someone doesn’t bust out your window during the game.

The Encounter

Through the construction I slowly took a left, and with a sigh of relief I saw a parking lot that would end my stressful search. Unfortunately, my exhale lasted for about a half second and was interrupted by loud shouts on my left.

“HEY! CAN’T YOU SEE THESE LIGHTS FLASHING?!?”

Whoa! It was a cop, and he was apparently trying to pull me over.

“I’m sorry, no I didn’t.” I replied.

With a few emphatic arm motions he furrowed his brow and yelled, “PULL OVER!!”

“Awww crap…” I thought internally as I pulled slowly into the lot that I intended to park in. “He’s ticked. This is going to be a ticket for sure.” I put my hands in plain view on the steering wheel and waited for him to approach my window.

“So you didn’t see my lights flashing behind you?”

“I’m sorry sir, no I did not. I was searching for a parking spot and must not have looked in my rear view mirror.” I replied.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” asked the cop, clearly still a little enraged.

“I honestly have no idea.”

“You turned left on a red light back there.”

“I did? I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t see that at all. You see, I’m from the west side of the state and am really not familiar with the ar-.”

He quickly cut me off, “And they don’t have traffic lights where you’re from?”

I smirked, “Well of course they do sir. Again, I’m terribly sorry. I’m just here to enjoy the Tigers game and was having trouble finding a parking lot near the stadium.”

“License, registration, AND insurance please.”

I slowly removed my left hand off the steering wheel to get my license out of my pocket, while keeping my right hand firmly at the 2 o’clock position. “Here is my license sir.” I then opened the glove box fairly slowly, and delivered my insurance and registration without delay.

“Give me a moment while I check these out. I’ll be right back.” Explained the police officer.

…..

After just a few minutes, he returned and handed my items back to me. “I have decided not to give you a ticket as I do not want to detract from your Detroit Tiger experience today.”

In shock I stuttered, “Well, th- thank you sir. I appreciate that.”

“Enjoy the game.” And he left quiet and peacefully.

“How in the heck did I just do that?” I asked myself. I think I just stumbled upon a few secrets of getting out of a traffic ticket. The next time you are pulled over, follow these rules and you might get yourself out of a ticket as well.

How to Avoid Getting a Traffic Ticket

police car#1. Both hands on the wheel – The number one fear of any police officer is getting shot. To calm his nerves, it is best if you put your hands in plain site – directly at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel.

#2. Move slowly, but with purpose – Again, to keep the police officer calm and trusting of you, move slowly (but intentionally) with both hands in plain view at all times. Be sure not to take all day with this though. The cop doesn’t want to stand by your door forever.

#3. Keep your information readily available – Cops hate to watch you fumble and waste their time while you search for your most updated registration and insurance. Keep your items neatly in the glove box so that you can deliver them cleanly and quickly.

#4. Show the police man respect by calling him ‘sir’ (or her ma’am) – Police officers like to be respected (as we all do). By calling them sir or ma’am, this lets them know quickly that you have respect for them and what they do.

#5. Do NOT take a photo of the police officer through your mirrors – I have seen quite a few people posting police cruisers (with their lights flashing) on Facebook. The cops can easily see this, and are often annoyed by it. The photo will likely cost you at least $75 because they WILL give you a ticket.

#6. Be honest – If you knew you were speeding, don’t lie about it. Tell him that you thought you were going a few miles per hour over the speed limit, but were just trying to keep up with traffic (and therefore not be a hazard). If you didn’t know, just tell him and leave it at that.

#7. Don’t make excuses – The last thing police officers want to hear is your sob story. If you go on and on about how your speedometer doesn’t work or how you are rushing to get home because your child broke her arm, it’s probably not going to work. Don’t even try it. Just be polite and to the point.

#8. Don’t challenge the police officer – Sure, you have the right to see the radar gun if you question the speed he clocked you at, and this might even get you out of a ticket temporarily, but it will cost you in the long run. I once heard of a man getting out of a ticket this way, but before the police officer let him go, he made a mental note of the make, model, and color of his car, intending on pulling him over in the future. And, he did…and ticketed him…several times. Don’t mess with the police officers – they may hold a grudge.

#9. Check your attitude – You may have had a bad day, and now getting pulled over is just the icing on the cake. Don’t take out your frustrations on the officer though. It will only guarantee you a ticket.

#10. Do not tell them about your powerful friends – If you start spouting off about how you know the Captain of their department and how you can get them fired, you are probably going to get a ticket. They know they can’t get fired for ticketing you because you broke the law. Don’t be stupid, just be polite and shut your mouth.

Have you ever gotten pulled over? Were you able to avoid getting a traffic ticket?

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AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

8 Comments

  1. Congratulations on getting away without a ticket or a gunshot wound, but doesn’t it make you question what kind of crazy world we live in when we have to be frightened of cops (their job is to protect us, isn’t it?) and when they have to be frightened of us?

    • Thanks Myles. Whew, I was relieved not to get that ticket! You know, if he would have just turned his siren on… I probably would have pulled over. Simple as that.

  2. Is it really that bad in the US? Wouldn’t happen here I don’t think, although being polite and willing to give info and of course admitting fault when both parties know that you are at fault will certainly help you. Might not be a guarantee out of a ticket but a pissed off police officer might still have a keener eye for detail and additional offences if you are being a jerk. Or worse yet, you getting an additional ticket for that.

    • I wouldn’t label police like this in the entire U.S., but in Detroit, yes. And, in their defense, Detroit has become a slum-hole with much crime, so I understand the police getting a little cranky.

  3. Great job Derek that you had avoided getting a traffic ticket! I totally agree with you that we should check our attitude always, we should always learn how to answer correctly.

    • Thanks Kate! It was a very strange experience since I hardly ever get pulled over. Sooo glad that I didn’t get a ticket.

  4. I’ve gotten a few tickets in my lifetime. I’ve also gotten out of a few too. The ones I’ve gotten out of, I was respectful and calm to the officer. I was also honest with them. I’d like to think I would have gotten out of the other tickets too, but I was just going too fast to warrant a warning!

    • Haha, yeah, I’ve had a few of those tickets as well. I think both tickets were for doing nearly 20mph over the speed limit – dang speed traps!


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