A surprising number of drivers eventually get one or more speeding tickets. Some are earned unexpectedly when the speedometer creeps up without being noticed. Other times drivers race to a planned destination while trying to stay under the radar. When pulled over by a police officer, most don’t know how to fight traffic ticket charges. Get prepared for your next encounter with speed traps to get the best possible outcome.
1. Know area traffic laws.
While driving through an unknown area, take note of road signs and other traffic indicators, such as traffic flow and local development. For example, farmland roads are likelier to have higher speed limits than urban centers. If you aren’t sure about local traffic laws, pull over and Google it on your smart phone. Better yet, play it safe by keeping an eye on other drivers and road signs. Failing to pay attention to road conditions and typical speed limits can result in a speeding ticket.
2. Pay attention.
Driving a vehicle on public roadways is serious business. Thousands of drivers and passengers die each year, some from their own recklessness and others due to the careless driving habits of others. If pulled over by a police officer, you should be able to truthfully say that you have kept your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel, which may help to convince the officer that you are a responsible driver.
3. Be prepared.
Always carry your driver’s license and proof of insurance when driving. It also helps to have the vehicle registration on hand. If you are at risk for drawing attention due to the vehicle’s malfunction (burned out headlight, for example) being able to indicate to a police officer, if pulled over, that you are headed to a service shop for a replacement could help to avoid a ticket.
4. Be polite.
No matter how stressed or rushed you are when pulled over, avoid being confrontational or defensive with a police officer. Depending on circumstances, it may help to admit you may not have been driving as carefully as conditions warranted (in bad weather, for example), and you appreciate the officer’s alert. Hopefully you will be issued a warning rather than a ticket.
5. Follow up.
If you are given a speeding ticket but believe you have reasonable cause to fight it in court, attend the scheduled hearing and take all relevant documentation. For example, if you had a flat tire that caused you to drive faster to get to work on time, bring the tire repair or replacement invoice to support your rationale. Although it is still illegal to speed, the court may suspend the ticket.