Have you ever gotten out of a ticket? We all have our own internal relationships with authority figures, especially the law enforcement variety. I am half Asian and there are some major stereotypes here with driving. Here are two experiences I’ve had.
Rolled through a stop sign/California stop/kind of stopped & no one was coming so kept going.
I had gone out to a local bar about 5 minutes from my home to meet friends for a drink. I had one drink when I arrived and left 2 hours later for home. Two blocks from my house I rolled through a stop sign and was immediately pulled over by an unseen police car.
“Do you know why I pulled you over,” he asked. Truly, I wasn’t sure because I probably thought I stopped “enough” and didn’t see anything else wrong. “No, officer, I don’t,” I truthfully admitted. “Well, you didn’t make a complete stop at the sign,” he accused. He was probably right. Then he asked if I had been drinking-it was late on a Saturday night in a fun part of town. “Yes, officer, I had one drink about 2 hours ago. I’m on my way home. I’m coming from ******* establishment (a few minutes away). I’m extremely tired and my home is 2 blocks away.”
He let me go with a stern lesson on stop sign safety and I thanked him. I took a few moments to breathe deeply in my car, he followed me home and took off.
In a left hand turn lane at a red arrow.
The straight through traffic light turned green as the arrow turned green. I realized I needed to go straight. There was no oncoming traffic and I merged into the straight lane and through the intersection. BWEWWW BWEEWWW. Pulled over.
He told me that I had made a traffic violation because I had gone through a red light. “Actually, officer, both lights were green,” I corrected. Risky to challenge the cop, I KNOW, but I couldn’t let it go. He was totally ok with it! I explained to him that I was on a lunch break, on my way back to work from taking a co-worker to pick up her car at the shop. I was a little lost so I ended up in the wrong lane and was correcting. I had made sure to merge into the straight traffic before entering the intersection.
Then he explained to me that crossing a solid white line (as in the one dividing the turn lane and through traffic) is not illegal. I still have to look that one up. He let me go and that was that!
The bottom line is that police officers are people too and they deal with the same stuff we do. I really feel that they appreciate being spoken to as a real person as long as they are still given the respect of an authority figure.
- It is up to YOU to choose a safe location to pull over. You can slow down so they know you’re not evading or put on your hazard lights until you find a well-lit, safe area.
- Consider explaining your method of decision-making and any factors influencing your choices. Just because they pull you over does not mean that a ticket is going to be issued.
- Keep your body language relaxed and your voice calm.
- It’s ok to be scared. Take a deep breath and communicate clearly.
- Cooperate immediately.
- Address he or she as “Officer,” as often as possible.
- Consider apologizing if you are in the wrong.
- Ask for some help in your “sentencing,” after you have given them to opportunity to offer it.
- Thank them for upholding justice, keeping the roads safe and making it a tolerable experience.
Even if you still get a ticket, they can lower the fee or severity if they feel you “learned your lesson.” The worst thing that could happen is a ticket. You’ll live. The best could be that you are reminded to be a more conscious driver with just a warning!
Chris recently got pulled over for rolling past a stop line before stopping and told the officer he just had an argument with his wife so he wasn’t paying attention. That guy MUST know what that’s like. He let him go! Goes to show that cops don’t just let cute girls off the hook.
Please share your stories!