Whether you’re zooming through another toll station or trying to navigate downtown Chicago, driving in Illinois can be a headache. The last thing you need on your daily commute is to have a police officer pull you over for driving too fast. Below, we take a look at five ways you can help yourself get out of a pesky traffic ticket.
1. Have a clean car – Your car says a lot about you, but it also makes a first impression on the police officer. Some bumper stickers like “I Love My Chihuahua” are harmless, but more radical bumper stickers can send the wrong impression. Voicing your opinion about gun control or who you’re voting for may put you in a tough position if the officer has conflicting views. Also, keeping a clean car offers a professional appearance and shows the cop that you aren’t trying to hide something in the back seat.
2. Give ‘em a wave – Let’s say you’re coming down the Kennedy Expressway a little too fast when you notice a cop radaring in the median. Give the officer a friendly wave as you go by, as it can help you in more than one way. First, the wave shows that you are acknowledging your speed and you are aware that you need to slow down. Secondly, the cop may think you are a friend and neglect to pursue. Even if the officer hesitates for a few seconds, it would give you more time to separate yourself from the pack if you were in a line of cars that were speeding.
3. Be courteous – You might be fuming mad that you got pulled over, but addressing the officer in an abrasive manner will only make things worse. While the officer is collecting your information from his squad car, keep your hands on the wheel and face forward. Now is not the time to reach for the glove box or under your seat. If it is dark out, feel free to turn on your dome light so that the officer can see you better. Once the officer arrives at the side of your car, ask if it is alright if you reach into your glove box to retrieve any necessary information. Being polite can only help your situation.
4. Choose the right words – There are two things you should never do when trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket. First, never give the cop attitude, and never admit that you were speeding. Below are three examples, and we’ll explain why one is better than the others.
“My bad, sir. I’m running late for my child’s soccer game and was just trying to get there quicker.” – Although you apologized, the officer won’t feel bad about writing you a ticket because you admitted that you were knowingly breaking the law.
“I was not speeding. I want to see your radar.” – This is probably the worst route to go. You basically called the officer a liar and tried to take control of the situation by making demands. Few people can dig themselves out of this hole.
“I’m sorry officer. I did not know I was going that fast.” – This is the best route to go if the officer asks why you were speeding. You show empathy and respect, and you do not admit to guilt. Stick to answers like “I see” or “I was not aware”. By getting through the interaction as non-memorably as possible, you lessen the chance of getting the ticket and raise the likelihood of getting it dropped if you decide to fight it in court.
5. Hire an attorney – If the first four steps fail, don’t be afraid to hire an experienced legal team to fight your case, especially if you face the loss of your license. If you were able to get through the interaction as quickly and quietly as possible, you stand a good chance of getting the charges dropped because the officer needs to provide unaided testimony of your individual case. The less memorable, the less likely they’ll be able to provide the judge with substantial evidence.
Related sources: Readers Digest, AOL.com