Part I: How to not get pulled over for speeding
Well, to be Captain Obvious, the answer is simple… don’t speed. Late for work? Leave earlier. Gotta get to the store before it closes? Leave earlier. Trying to make good time on that trip to go see mom and dad? And if you want to speed through a residential area? Just don’t. PERIOD. That’s just stupid. When driving through residential areas, always drive as if a kid is going to leap out from behind every parked car to chase down his bouncing red ball. Places where people live, work, go to school, and play, are off limits to the zoom-zoom driver. Period.
Your eyes are the best radar/laser/cop/accident/hazard detectors you have. Keep your eyes open. Watch you rear view mirror for those familiar headlights of the Crown Victoria, LTD, Caprice Classic. (If your state uses other unmarked police cars like Mass does — you’re screwed — good luck). Early Warning Radar — watch for brake lights coming on the cars that are ahead of you — what do they see that you don’t? Also watch for other passenger vehicles driving towards you, which are flashing their headlights. They’re trying to warn you about something ahead — maybe something in the road, accident … or a cop running radar from the bushes.
Flow of traffic. Think that you’re invulnerable just because you’re driving with the flow of traffic? Well, my answer to this is simple and was most eloquently described in a fishing joke. Cop pulls a guy over for speeding, whose defense was, I was just going with the flow of traffic. Cop’s response… Ever go fishing? — Yeah — Ever catch ALL the fish? — Catch my drift? The “I was going with the flow of traffic defense doesn’t work.
Part II: How to react in case you do get pulled over Guess what, unlike popular opinion or what Mike your drinking buddy tells you, cops are not a**holes. The purpose of a cop on traffic duty is not to arbitrarily bust anyone doing 56 in a 55 zone or to raise the revenue of the cops fund. The purpose of a cop on traffic duty is to keep the a**holes who do drive their cars like nut jobs from smashing into the vehicles filled with our moms, dads, wives, husbands, and children. But you know what, stuff happens and you were speeding and you get pulled over. What do you do now?
Cops Safety: This is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR. How many times have we seen those police video clips where a cop pulls over a car for a burned out taillight, goes up to the driver’s side window and gets shot 4,295 times by the wacked out drug addict behind the wheel? Lots of times? Well guess what… so have the cops. If you are unlucky enough to get pulled over, one of the best things you can do in your defense, is to let the officer know you’re not a threat to him. Before he approaches your window… have BOTH hands on the wheel where he can see them. Turn your radio off. Have anyone in the car with you put their hands in a visible position. If there’s a pair of cops, one approaching each side of your car, put BOTH windows down. If its night time, turn your interior lights on. If your windows are tinted, lower ALL your windows.
Location: Should you see those magical flashing lights in your rear view mirror, and can’t pull over in a safe location immediately (i.e. no breakdown lane, or you’re on an exit ramp for example)… stick your hand out of your window…give a thumbs up to the cop and point ahead to where you intend to pull over. This lets him know you’re not ignoring him, and thus soothes the savage beast. And when you do pull over, move as far right as possible, so that when the officer is at your driver’s side window, they’ll be shielded from ongoing traffic. Remember, a happy, secure police officer can mean a forgiving, only-warning-giving police officer. And put your four way flashers on as well.
License and Registration. We’ve all watched Dragnet. We know what they’re going to ask for. Shouldn’t you have it ready? In a word… NO. Should you have them readily available where you can get them within five seconds of being asked for them? Yes. Should you have them ready? No. Why not? Because here’s what happens — right after you pull over, you lean over to the glove box on her passenger side and get your registration, like a good little driver. Here’s what the cop sees — as he pulls this person over, they lean over to their glove box for a few seconds and they sit back upright. Are they stashing some drugs? Getting a weapon? Hiding something? Hmmm. When the cop wants your paperwork, he’ll ask for it. Have it readily available — you shouldn’t have to go searching through 37 Dunkin Donuts napkins, 4 oil change receipts and 19 used condoms to find it. And after you hand it to the cop… Both hands back on the steering wheel. Sudden grabs under your seat to get that quarter you dropped last week are HIGHLY discouraged.
Passengers. Your job here is very simple. You play a game called, Shut the hell up, sit still, keep your hands on your lap, and speak only when spoken to by the officer.
Playing dumb / Respect to the cops: Harsh truth kids… that officer at your window… treat them with respect.Learn these phrases: Yes sir, No ma’am, Absolutely officer. Treat them with respect, and they’ll treat you with respect. And don’t ‘yes sir no sir’ them to death — that gets dry. Also, thinking about playing dumb?? These excuses will not work: I’m late for class/work/doctor/pick kids up/whatever, I was going with the flow of traffic, You must be mistaken I wasn’t driving 75mph, I thought the speed limit was 80, officer.. won’t work. This excuse has the best chance of success: You’re right officer; I was going a little fast. I was distracted and I can assure you it wasn’t intentional and that it will not happen again. You ain’t fooling them with all the other excuses. Best to spill the beans and hope to catch a break than to feed him a line of BS that’s going to give him indigestion and make him irritable.
Back To Their Car. This is perhaps the most important part in not getting a speeding ticket. NEVER EVER EVER EVER let a cop take your license and registration back to his patrol car, without getting your explanation in first. NEVER EVER EVER. If the cop heads back to his car without hearing your side of the story first, then you have ZERO chance of catching a break. Nada. Zero. Zip Zilch. As you’re handing your license/registration over to the cop, explain to him that you believe you know why he pulled you over, you were going a little fast, you were having a really good day, weren’t paying attention, didn’t mean it, won’t happen again, you’ll be a good little boy/girl. Even if the cop acts like he’s not paying attention, believe me, they are. You just make sure he’s heard your side of the story before he heads back to his cruiser to run your drivers license through and make sure you’re not a wanted felon. Even if you only convince them a little bit, then you’ve at least got a little bit of chance to catch a break. Once the ticket’s written it CAN NOT be ripped up. There is no ‘take back’ once their pen has touched the ticket form, because they’re all serial numbered and every single one has to be accounted for. So you have to get them BEFORE they break out the Bic. Cops are human beings. EVERY cop gives someone a break form time to time. You do what you can to make sure you’re one of those select few.
The Flex Your Rights Foundation has posted a 45-minute video on Google designed to help you understand your rights next time a cop pulls you over.