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How to Avoid a Traffic Ticket

Updated on February 10, 2011

When those sirens and lights appear in your rearview mirror and you have to pull over to the side of the road, all you're left with is a feeling of regret. You got caught, and you probably know it. We've all been in that situation before, and there's hardly a single one of us that can sit back and say that we've never had a speeding or traffic ticket. However, that doesn't mean that we all can't learn how to improve your chances to escape the roadways unscathed.

This isn't a guide to cheat the system, but instead, a collection of tips and ideas that you can use to try to avoid getting slapped with a big fine and ticket. Of course, the only guaranteed way to avoid getting pulled over is to drive the speed limit and obey all over laws of the road, such as signaling and avoiding aggressive tactics. But these tips can help save you some cash and legal troubles if you put them to use in the right way.

First, you have to start being more attentive while you're on the roadway. This means checking your rearview mirrors for cars that are behind you, looking around at all of the cars around you and in front of you in traffic, and looking ahead and to the side of the road. If you stay actively scanning your surroundings, you'll be much more likely to catch a police officer before it's too late, giving you time to adequately slow down instead of getting a ticket.

You also need to keep a lookout for obvious hot spots, or places where it makes sense for a cop to try to pull people over. If your vision is obstructed by a hill or a curve, a cop could use this area to hide out and use his radar gun, which means you should be more cautious. Along the same lines, behind large signs, near bridges and overpasses, and in areas where it's known that people speed or abuse the traffic laws, you can be sure that there will be a cop lurking around from time to time.

You can also try to use clues from what other drivers are telling you. If you're in a crowded traffic area and you see a handful of cars in front of you braking, but didn't see any slowdown in traffic or other distraction besides that, they may be slowing down in a response to a cop waiting ahead that's still out of your field of vision. Follow their lead and you may just save yourself a ticket.

Another tip to use the traffic and other drivers around you is simply to drive as they are driving. If you're on a 45 MPH road and traffic is streaming along with the majority of cars going 55, then it's going to hard for anyone to get pulled over going at the speed. Everyone is just keeping pace with the flow and speed of traffic, and nobody can really be singled out.

Conversely, if everyone on that road is actually going 45, and you're the only guy going 55, then you're putting yourself in a bad position. You're sticking out from the crowd, you're more easy to spot, and you can't say that you're keeping up with the flow of traffic. So use some common sense and drive the way others are driving, and don't leave yourself sitting alone as the only guy speeding.

Driving aggressively is also a surefire way to get yourself pulled over. If everyone is going 55 in the 45, but you're the one weaving in between cars, tailgating, moving back and forth, then you're the one that sticks out. You can get pulled over based on these tactics alone, regardless of the speeding, so when you're doing both, you're leaving yourself in a bad position.

You also don't want to give the police any other excuse to pull you over or invite a ticket. So make sure all of your lights are in working order, make sure you signal as you change lanes, abide by all other traffic laws, don't go in the HOV lane unless your situation allows for it, and so forth.

In fact, you might want to avoid the far most left lane in all situations, regardless of whether it's an HOV lane or not. The left lane, or fast lane, will be the easiest to spot, and it also signals you out right off the bat as opposed to somebody in the middle or right lane. You'll be singled out once again for being potentially aggressive or more likely to speed, and you're leaving yourself more susceptible to being caught easily.

Of course, using radar detectors and various other kinds of alerting systems is something that many people have been doing for years. But you have to be careful about this, because they are illegal in some areas, and in others, certain varieties are illegal while others are safe to use. If you're spotted using something illegal then that's going to be just as bad as the speeding ticket itself, or worse, so you don't want to put yourself in that position.

Don't forget to be on the lookout for speeding cameras either. Learn where they are in your area so you don't get caught, and learn how to see them on the side of the road. They can look like boxes or poles on the side, but they are accompanied by white lines in the road used as photo guides, and that can help you spot them in advance.

As you can see, there are many different ways to avoid speeding tickets. If you want to guarantee that you never get one, just don't speed! But considering that seems unlikely for most people, you can improve your chances by doing a better job blending in with the crowd, obeying all other traffic laws and rules, and raising your awareness and alertness to your surroundings. With all of this on your side, you'll give yourself a fighting chance the next time you hit the highways.

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