Driving a little fast? You know the drill, the second you see those ominous lights in the rearview mirror, you know there’s a good chance you’ll be handed a ticket.
Or, maybe not? For minor speeding (typically less than 20mph over), an officer will use his discretion as to whether to issue a citation or let you go with just a warning. To sway the odds in your favor, there are certain things you can do when you’re pulled over that may help your cause.
If you pass a traffic cop, smile and wave
If you’re going five to 10 over and suddenly see an officer, smile and wave as a way of acknowledging that you’re paying attention and slowing down.
Put your turn signal on the second you see their flashing lights
If you get pulled over, start off on the right foot by communicating with the officer, especially if you’re somewhere that’s too dangerous to immediately stop.
Stop immediately if the siren comes on
Don’t look for a better spot to pull over. If the officer hits the siren, he or she considers it safe enough to stop right here.
Get your license, registration, and insurance out before they get to your window
It’s a safe bet that the officer doesn’t want to spend any more time at this stop than you do, so dig out your info. Another item: If you know your registration and insurance are buried somewhere, wait with your hands on the wheel until the officer is there and then ask permission to dig for it.
Say something nice before they go back to their car
Timing is important here, say something nice before the officer goes back to his car to check out your information. Once he or she writes that ticket, it’s a done deal.
Don’t be short with a cop, but don’t talk too much either
Rambling doesn’t look good, but answering with a quick, one-word response to every question actually makes you look suspicious. Have a brief conversation.
Be humble and apologize
We’re all humans, we all make mistakes, and believe it or not officers really do have compassion. As Holt Fiat of Hurst recommends, if you’re speeding and you know it, apologize to the officer and say you’ll be more careful!
Avoid speeding around the holidays
There are certain times of the year when officers can take overtime to sit around with the sole purpose of writing tickets. That unofficial buffer zone of 5-10mph, give or take, still applies, but try not to exceed that on holidays.