Although the best advice for avoiding traffic tickets is always to drive within the law, it often happens that even law-abiding drivers receive tickets. Besides the actual cost of paying the fine, these little slips of paper can lead to other problems, such as higher insurance rates, points on your driver's license, and anxiety. This article provides some tips on how to avoid traffic tickets.
See the Highway Patrol
The best way to be able to spot the police is to ensure that you have good visibility from your car. You can do this by cleaning your windows whenever you fill up at a gas station, and wiping down your mirrors as well. If you have any large stickers on any of your windows, it may be a good idea to remove them. Also, be sure to occasionally check your rearview mirror for excessive vibration because if your rearview mirror is excessively vibrating, you may be losing visibility out of the back of your car. This problem is easily remedied by checking the suspension on your car or making sure the wheels are in balance.
Recognize Highway Patrol Vehicles
It's a good idea to learn how to spot highway patrol cars, whether they are driving around or parked on the side of the road. Highway patrol cars are typically sedans with siren lights mounted on the top and/or sides of the car; however, many highway patrol jurisdictions employ patrol cars that have smaller, sleeker profiles as well. In addition, the lights that are routinely mounted on the tops of vehicles are now mounted inside of the car, near the windows. In other words, it's not always easy to spot a highway patrol car.
Highway patrol cars often wait for speeders near highway on-ramps. When driving through an overpass followed by an on-ramp, it's always a good idea to look around for any parked cars, check your speed, and drive safely. In addition, highway patrol often work in teams, with one car checking speeds using a radar gun while parked on the overpass, and another car waiting to issue a traffic ticket. As a result, it's always a good idea to be aware of cars that are not moving on an overpass.
Bear in mind that you may receive a ticket from highway patrol cars that are driving in the opposite direction because with their powerful engines, it's easy for them to make a U-turn and catch up to you if they think you're breaking the law. Another highway patrol tactic is to use pace cars on service roads to see if there are speeding cars.
Highway Patrol Motorcycles and Airplanes
In addition to cars, the highway patrol also often uses motorcycles and airplanes. Highway patrol motorcycles can usually be recognized by their large size and rear radio-antenna. In addition, most of these motorcycles are designed to have the rider sitting upright, so you don't have to worry about sport bikes where the rider is leaning forward.
Some highway patrols use airplanes and other small aircraft to issue speeding tickets, although this is more common in rural areas with large stretches of highway. If highway patrol monitors speed via aircraft in an area, there will typically be signs that indicate it. Spotting an aircraft is harder that spotting a highway patrol car or motorcycle. However, if you happen to see a small aircraft flying parallel to the road you're on, the police may be monitoring your speed from above.
Don't Get Noticed
One of the best ways to avoid a traffic tickets is to avoid getting noticed while you're on the road. To avoid notice, you can:
- Make sure that if your windows are tinted, the darkness of the tint is within the law.
- Avoid flashing your headlights at drivers that are driving more slowly than you unless you're sure that you're driving within the speed limit.
- Only drive in the left lane when passing slower vehicles. Some states even prohibit driving in the left lane except for when passing other cars.
- Avoid additions to your car that may bring attention, such as extra large spoilers, oversized wheels, and lighted under-carriages.
- Avoid bumper stickers, unless you're sure they aren't offensive. Even a simple bumper sticker that supports your favorite sports team may offend an officer.
- Be careful when using radar detectors because a police officer may be more inclined to give you a ticket instead of a warning if he or she pulls you over. In fact, some states prohibit the use of radar detectors.
- If you personalize your license plate, make sure it won't be offensive or draw unwanted attention, such as a license plate that says "SPD DMN" (speed demon).
- Keep a clean, good looking car. If your car looks shabby, an officer may be more inclined to keep a closer eye on you and issue a ticket. You should also make sure your registration tags are always current.
- Make sure to repair cracked windows and replace bald tires, as these can often be the basis for a ticket.
Get Legal Help with a Traffic Ticket
While many traffic tickets don't require the assistance of an attorney, if you have questions or concerns about a traffic ticket, you may want to contact a local traffic ticket attorney.