The feeling is unmistakable and universally relatable. You’re driving, half-listening to a true-crime podcast when you see flashing blue lights in your rearview. Your pulse quickens. Are you speeding? Did you cross the median by accident? Are your lights working? Your heart leaps up into your throat as you anxiously look for a safe spot to pull over. But just as you turn on your signal, the police car whizzes by you–undoubtedly on their way to some sort of emergency that thankfully does not involve you. Your heart rate begins to drop. You turn off your signal and gently return to your previous state of bliss where you were vaguely aware of your surroundings.
No one likes being pulled over by the police. The end result is usually an expensive lesson that, let’s be honest, you probably deserved. If you’d like to avoid a sudden panic attack every time a police car pulls up behind you, pay attention to the following tips.
Unless you or your partner are actively giving birth (or suffering from another medical emergency), slow down. (And if you ARE experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and alert the authorities.)
Speeding leads to accidents. What if you run upon debris on the road and are going too fast to maneuver safely around it? Or what if the vehicle in front of you slams on its brakes because a deer jumped out in front of them? There’s a reason why speed limits are imposed: because it’s safe. Also, ignorance of the speed limit isn’t an excuse. Aside from the signs that are posted alongside the road, most maps and GPS apps show you the speed limit for the road you’re on (and even detect your speed to alert you when you’re going over the speed limit).
Check Your Lights
Most of us are oblivious when any one of our rear lights goes out, but those lights are super important. They let nearby drivers know what you’re up to and also allow you to be visible at night or in poor weather conditions. Make a habit of checking to make sure that all of your exterior lights are in good working order and you’ll avoid a ticket for faulty equipment.
Keep Your Car Legal
Expired tags, broken tail lights, and fenders that are scraping the pavement will most certainly get you pulled over by the police. It’s also a good idea to check with state laws before you start modifying your ride with LED lights and the darkest tint you can find. And keep in mind that those laws may vary from state to state.
Don’t Drive Like a Jerk
Tailgating, swerving in and out of traffic, and spinning your tires all seem cool in whatever sequel of the Fast and the Furious you’re watching, but on normal, everyday roads it’s selfish and unwarranted. It also causes you to draw attention to yourself so don’t act surprised when police lights show up after you cut off a school bus full of children.
It’s easy to slip into auto-pilot when you’re driving familiar roads, but staying alert will allow you to be a diligent driver. Take notice of new traffic patterns, traffic signals, and most importantly…other drivers. Just because you’re following the rules doesn’t mean that they are, so slow down and keep a safe distance to ensure that you have enough reaction time to avoid unforeseen hazards.
If you’ve received one too many traffic tickets, then it may benefit you to take the Driver Improvement Program offered by A1 Driver. We provide both online and in-person instruction which, upon completion, may help you reduce the number of points on your driving record. To learn more, visit www.A1Driver.com.