How to Avoid Traffic Tickets

Make every effort to know and comply with basic traffic laws. Get a copy of the driver's license manual from your state licensing authority and review its contents.

Don't attract attention to your vehicle by having loud exhaust, windows tinted too dark, etc. Anything that causes a police officer to look at your vehicle will make it more likely he will notice expired tags or inspection sticker, or other deficiency.

If your state has a mandatory seatbelt law; wear your seatbelt. If you forget to put it on, don't wait until you see a police officer to remember to put it on. This will only cause the officer to notice you when he might not have otherwise. The fact that you just put it on may not be enough to avoid a citation. If he spots you without it on or sees you putting it on, you can be cited. You might only get a warning for having put it on, but this is a gamble. If the officer is working a special seatbelt detail you can count on a ticket. DON'T CALL ATTENTION TO YOURSELF!

Keep your vehicle in good condition, and all equipment such as brakes, lights, etc. in working order. Burned out headlights or tail lights just can't be missed at night. Remember, once the officer has you stopped he can find other things to talk to you about like the driver's license you left at home, or the insurance card you can't find, etc.

Make a complete stop at stop signs. Your state may require you to stop at a line or at a point, before entering the intersection, where you can clearly see traffic. Either way, you must stop. Make sure the intersection is clear before starting out. Accidents at intersections with stop signs are "bought and paid for" by the driver having the stop sign. This is true even if you stop.

Be prepared to stop at yield signs if necessary. Unless you can clearly see traffic, and know no vehicles are coming, treat the yield sign like a stop sign.

Do not drive faster than the flow of traffic unless that flow is below the speed limit. Passing other vehicles always draws attention. It may appear momentarily that you are speeding, even if you aren't. The police officer may quickly realize that you're not speeding just about the same time he notices you're not wearing your seatbelt, your inspection sticker has expired, etc., etc., etc. By now you should be getting the idea: DON'T CALL ATTENTION TO YOURSELF!

If you are stopped for a traffic violation, try to prevent or at least minimize the damage. An officer may be assigned to a certain location to watch for a certain violation due to numerous accidents at that location. If you commit the violation in question at that location your chances of getting out of a ticket are slim. A short argument of the facts is okay, but don't get carried away. This is especially true if have other deficiencies you don't want noticed. Consider this: if you've committed a violation, the officer is supposed to write you a ticket. Depending on the circumstances, however, you may get a verbal or written warning. If you jump out of the car with verbal abuse, you will always get a ticket.

Don't rely too much on your radar detector. If you're the only car on the road for a long stretch, or you're the first car in a convoy of vehicles, you're going to be the target vehicle for the radar unit over the next hill. The officer is not going to let the "cat" out of the bag and leave the radar on continuously for you to "detect". He'll have it in the "stand-by" mode. It's warmed up, calibrated, and ready to go, but it's not emitting a signal. He won't activate it till you come over the hill. Your radar detector will beep at the same time the radar automatically locks your speed on the digital display. Anyone within a mile or so behind you with a detector will be warned, but not you! Sometimes officers will leave the unit on and transmitting, knowing that there are plenty of non-detector equipped speeders to be caught, but don't count on this.

General Tips

  1. Don't get noticed!

  2. Watch your speed!

  3. Make complete stops at stop signs.

  4. Keep lights in good repair.

  5. Carry all required documents: Driver's license, title, registration, insurance.

  6. Don't have loud mufflers.

  7. Don't have windows tinted too dark.

  8. Don't carry oversized loads.

  9. Don't overload vehicle with passengers, especially the front seat.

  10. Don't throw things from the vehicle.

  11. Don't give the officer a hard time for doing his job.

  12. If you think you been "locked-on" by radar, slow down. It may not help, but it won't hurt either.

  13. Police officers can spot expired inspection stickers, license plates, and other deficiencies from a great distance!

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