After driving for a long time in such a car-dependent place as California, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually get pulled over. While getting pulled over doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a ticket, there are some things you can do to reduce the chance of getting a traffic citation or perhaps lower how much you went over the speed limit. It comes down to luck at the end of it but here’s how to avoid getting a ticket.
How to Avoid Getting a Ticket
1. Don’t break the law
We are stating the obvious, but you shouldn’t break the law in the first place. Traffic laws exist to promote safety and help prevent car crashes. In fact, speeding doesn’t actually help you get to your destination much faster, especially compared to the cost of getting caught, paying a fine and potentially getting into a fatal accident. The costs outweigh the benefits.
That being said, people do sometimes break the law. Cops are more likely to pull over the driver in the fast lane going 100mph and weaving in and out of traffic than the driver 10mph over the posted speed limit.
2. What to do if you get pulled over
Getting pulled over is a nerve-wracking experience for most people, but it can be for cops too! In some cases, they may have to walk on along the highway, risking their safety to get to your window. On top of that, cops don’t know who they pulled over – the driver could have intentions to harm the officer. Traffic stop incidents happen more often than you think. Here are our tips to help create a more relaxed atmosphere for you and the police officer:
- Be polite and courteous! While you may be upset or unfairly picked out, don’t let that frustration boil to the surface. Being rude will not help your case. If you are truly innocent, you will get a chance to fight your ticket in court.
- Indicate your intentions to pull over once you’ve been asked to pull over or you see the sirens go off behind you. You can do this using your blinkers and finally turn on your hazard lights once you’ve come to a complete stop.
- Pull over as soon as you can into a safe area even if it means getting off the freeway or going into a parking lot or gas station. You don’t want to disrupt traffic or put the officer in harm’s way.
- Roll down all your windows. This helps the officer see your car while walking up and assures him that there is no danger.
- Turn off your engine.
- Turn off the radio or music system. Hang up any calls you may be on.
- Keep your seatbelt fastened throughout the entire time.
- Take off your sunglasses (if you’re wearing them).
- If it is at night, switch on a light inside your car.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel until the officer asks you for your registration and insurance card. You may inform the officer that your registration and insurance is in the glove compartment and you want to reach for it.
While some of these tips may seem silly, routine stops can go bad, and all of your actions indicate that you pose no danger.
3. Volunteering Information
The best advice is to politely decline and say nothing to the police officer about whatever you got pulled over for. You are not required to admit anything and admitting you were speeding will not help you.
4. Asking for a break
You could try your luck and ask for leniency – but don’t make an excuse for breaking the law. Saying something like but there were no cars around me doesn’t change the fact that you broke the law. This last bit is up to your luck and whether you have a clean record or not.
If you do get ticketed and are eligible for traffic school, read our post on whether you should go to traffic school.