Tomorrow is the first day of September, which is hard to believe. It also marks the busiest month for me so far. In this month alone, I will be going up to Fort Kent, down to Portland, across to Farmington, up to northern New Hampshire and flying out to Indiana. Needless to say, the Green Machine and I will be spending lots of quality time together. As someone who has traveled near and far, I been able to experience many different adventures (staying at Tim Tebow's house, holding his Heisman trophy, meeting the vice president of Sony Recording, etc). Do you know what one of the most heart pumping things I've ever gotten to experience? Did you guess getting pulled over? If you did, then you are completely right. Nobody likes to get pulled over and get a ticket, but it happens to the best of us for various reasons. How do you avoid tickets? What do you do when you get pulled over and what do you do when you get a ticket? Here are some tips
Avoiding getting pulled over
Well there are some obvious things you can do to not get pulled over. Driving the speed limit and making sure you car is inspected and registered are key ingredients to not getting pulled over. I can safely say I have yet to be pulled over for going the speed limit when my car is both registered and inspected. Now I'm no saint, and I do speed from time to time. If you feel the need to speed, find people who are going the same speed as yourself. If you are blowing by everyone and no one else is going as fast as you, there's a good chance that you need to slow down. Try going 5-10 miles within the public traffic, and you won't stand out (well...if you drive a car like mine, you'll stand out regardless).
I'm pulled over. Now what?
At this point, you need to remain calm. If you know the reason for getting pulled over (speeding, inspection, registration) be honest with the cop. Don't play dumb unless you absolutely have no idea why you got pulled over. Generally speaking, the times I have been pulled over, I knew the reason. I drove an 86 Camry (her name was Glenda) and it wasn't always easy getting it inspected. On top of that, the car stuck out like a sore thumb so anytime I did something wrong in front of a police officer, I would generally get pulled over. BE RESPECTFUL! I know it can be frustrating to get pulled over, but every time I have talked my way out of a ticket, I was respectful. I find that fighting fire with fire ends up nowhere. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much respect you give a police officer. Sometimes it's just one of those days and you'll get a ticket. I've found that having an uninspected car for a year, and going 17 over out of state are both grounds for getting a ticket.
I got a ticket. Should I pay it right off?
Depending on your situation, you may want to pay the ticket right off. Every ticket you get, you have the right to bring that fine to court and fight it. I've gotten two out of state tickets (Tennessee and Texas...the South hates me) and although I had the chance to fight the ticket, I would have had no chance of going to my court date. Given the fact that I reside in Maine and the court system is a thousand miles away, I chose to pay the fine right off. If you get pulled over in state, I suggest at least sending the ticket in for a court date. Not only will this give you more time to pay the fine, if you show up for court, you pretty much automatically get money knocked off. Again, be respectful. You can choose to fight the ticket if you really feel that you did no wrong. Sometimes being respectful to the judge will pay off and you won't have to pay the fine. Better yet, sometimes the officer will not show up to court and you'll win your case based on the fact that no one has a counter argument. Generally speaking officers are very good about showing up to court, but like I said. At the very least, you will have money knocked off your ticket.
Let me just say, that I do not condone crazy driving, and I would hope that people try to respect the road laws and be smart about the way they drive. That being said, I know we all slip up now and again, and sometimes we get caught. It may stink, but there are ways to avoid getting a pricey fine and having money knocked off if you do end up with a ticket. Drive safely and responsibly and chances are you'll never have to deal with it!
Are you a responsible driver?