By Catherine Powell
|Image courtesy Pixabay|
Nobody likes to get pulled over for a traffic violation. Yet what you say and do in the next few minutes can mean the difference between being given a warning or a ticket. Getting ticketed cannot only cost you money, but the infraction can also cost you time as well. That's because getting a ticket can mean taking the time to either fight it in court or attend traffic school. It can also spell the potential for causing your insurance rates to rise. If you'd like to avoid all of these sticky situations, below are ten things you need to consider the next time you see those flashing blue and red lights pull behind your vehicle.
#1: Pull over to the right side of the road. - Nothing irks a police officer more than having a motorist pull onto the left lane or into the median. This puts the officer at risk of being hit by passing traffic since it's much harder to see what's coming on the left side of the cruiser than it is on the right. If you make a cop's job more hazardous than necessary, you already have one strike against you.
#2: Have everything ready for the officer before he or she steps from the vehicle. - That means you should have your driver's license, insurance card, and registration ready to present. Also, roll down your window and have both hands on the steering wheel. If it's dark out, turn on the interior light. If a cop doesn't see your hands or sees you rummaging around in the glove box, this could be interpreted as a threat. Strike two.
#3: You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. - That means don't be a grump when you get pulled over. Don't scowl at the officer. Be courteous. If you know you were speeding, don't give the officer more ammunition to write you a ticket.. If you don't know why you were pulled over, ask the officer what you can do for him or her. A little courtesy goes a long way when it comes to dispatching a thankless task.
#4: Chat up the officer. - A little chit chat can help sway the officer's opinion of you. Anything you can do to turn a cop's frown upside down will help you avoid being ticketed. If the officer likes you, you're much less likely to wind up being written up.
#5: Answer any follow up questions truthfully. - If an officer asks you any questions after pulling you over this is a good sign, provided you respond in a frank and truthful manner. If the officer is dead set on writing you up, they usually don't ask too many questions.
#6: If you have a valid excuse for speeding, admit it up front. - Unless you have an extremely pregnant woman sitting in the passenger seat next to you, you'll need a reason to explain your need for speed. This can include needing to use the restroom, or trying to swat a wasp or bee that was buzzing around your head as you drove. Being late for work or an appointment won't get you off the hook.
#7: If you know a local cop, this is the time to tell the officer. - Like it or not, the police take care of their own. That means if you are related to another officer, owning up to the fact is one way to get out of a ticket. Possessing a Police Benevolent Association card is another.
#9: Express concern for the cop's safety. - If you're pulled over on a busy highway and you see the exit ramp ahead, pull off the highway before coasting to a stop at the bottom of the exit. Then explain to the officer that you did so because you were concerned with his or her safety. I did this a couple of years ago and was rewarded with a warning instead of a ticket when I said I was afraid the cop might get hit by a passing vehicle.
#10: Request a lower speed infraction if it seems as though you are about to be written up. - While this won't necessarily get you off the hook, it will make both the fine and any potential insurance penalty much less costly.
Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida Insurance in Orange Park, Florida. To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com