The first sign of the flashing lights in the rear view mirror has some panicked and others hot under the collar and demanding the reason theyâ’ve been pulled over. But the reality is that for most of us, our driving records have some infraction we’ve committed, been sited for and paid a fine on at some point in our driving careers. Itâs a given that after youâve received the citation you thought about what you couldâve done to prevent it.
SPEEDING – If the red lights gonna make you late, you’re already late.
Speed limits are established for safety. Not to annoy you, make you late or inhabit your driving enjoyment. Speeds are determined by a road’s construction, the amount of traffic flow it will endure on a regular basis, and the area in which the road is located. Rural roads, side streets and those running through residential neighborhoods will always have slower speeds than the main drag through town. Likewise, highways will allow travel at higher speeds because of the nature in which highways are used.
All that mumbo-jumbo aside; go the speed limit. Most of us violate speed limit laws daily, because, well we’ve all had that friend who knows a cop who told him that going five to seven miles over the limit is ok. While we can readily admit that not many people have been given a ticket for going âa littleâ over the speed limit, I donât like to test the boundaries of what small amount over the speed limit the next officer I come into contact with considers breaking the law. That said, if you make it a rule to leave a little earlier to accommodate yourself for your daily commute at the posted speeds, you wonât have to test any boundaries and youâll get to your destination speeding ticket free. Guaranteed.
MOVING VIOLATIONS AND OTHER DRIVING FAUX PAUS WE COMMIT
Following too closely, changing lanes right before or after an intersection, changing lanes in a school zone, not signaling before a turn, making an illegal u-turn and the list goes on and on. Whether you knew or accidentally committed one of these popular offenses it’s important to refresh yourself with the rules of the road. If you find youâre getting regular tickets or even just one for an offense you didnât realize you were committing, grab a copy of the driving manual used to give driving tests to new drivers. Brush up and make the cops work extra hard to find something wrong with your driving skills.
KEEPING YOUR VEHICLE IN TOP OPERATING CONDITION
Vehicle inspections aren’t as common as they used to be. But even when you receive one on a car youâve bought and are trying to register, the inspection is less than thorough. Knowing this, make sure you check your headlamps, turn signals, brake lights, parking lights and backup lights monthly. These tickets are especially frustrating because not only do you pay a fine but also you usually have to go to the station thatâs issued your ticket and prove you fixed the problem.
If you park in paid spaces either in a garage or a lot and are unsure of how long you’ll need the space, buy extra time. Don’t short yourself. Weâve all been faced with this at some point or another and for some this is a daily occurrence. Unless you’re one hundred percent sure how long youâll need to be in the space, the extra couple dollars or cents in some cases will always be less than a ticket.
Don’t park in handicapped spaces. Ever. No matter how short you plan on being inside a business, the costs on these tickets are astronomical and climbing. While they are inconsiderate to those who require parking in close proximity to their destination, the tickets are a dead issue in court. Unless you can prove you had a handicapped placard at the time of the offense, youâll be paying a fine.
RED LIGHT RUNNER ENFORCEMENT ZONES
Because of the lack of police presence at busy intersections, many cities are installing or have used for some time, camera’s that photograph those who run red lights. Now, think about that for a moment. Just how do you go about fighting a ticket with a photo of you committing the offense? Whether you were driving or not, if the car is registered to you, you’ll be paying a fine. This in mind, approach intersections with caution and care. Just like you were taught in drivers ed, the rule still applies today. And for the love of pete, yellow lights donât mean gun it and hope you make it through. If you donât have the time to stop, proceed with caution. If you have time to stop, then stop. Simple concept, yet so many people just donât get it. These are the same people in city court giving every excuse in the book as to why they âhadâ to run the light. Please.
I’ve saved the most serious offense for last because unfortunately people just donât get it. While some DUI laws are working and less people are driving under the influence, there are still a good many people who commit this one and don’t think twice. If the horrific photos of mangled cars and tearful accounts of alcohol related crashes from grieving loved ones doesnât make you stop and think twice, open your checkbook. Do you have enough money to cover the $500 to $2000 fine attached to a DUI conviction? Do you have the $2500 to $5000 retainer necessary for a good DUI attorney? Can you afford the insurance rate hike? Can you spare 1 to 10 or more days in jail? And can you afford to lose your license for three months to three years or indefinitely?
However financially crippling a DUI can be, the emotional turmoil you’ll face once you’ve been sited can be as equally crippling. If youâve caused an accident this emotional struggle can be incredibly devastating. Do you want to live with guilt for the rest of your life knowing you killed a loved one or someone elseâs loved one for that matter? The answer isnât hard; no you canât.
The need to blow off steam, celebrate or unwind with a cocktail is innocent at best. The ability to do so in your home or in the company of others, one of which is a designated driver is the responsible way to do it. Cab companies, police organizations and alcohol abuse and drunk driving prevention centers offer transportation services to those who’ve had too much to drink. Take them up on this offer. Many cab companies will provide you with a voucher for a free return ticket the following day to pick up your car. Itâs worth it, trust me.
On a closing note, and in regards to driving under the influence, please don’t be afraid to tell a friend or family member when they’ve had too much. Take their keys, drive them yourself, call them a cab or insist they spend the night if they’re at your house. Your intentions will be met with resistance at first, and the person may even become combative. But rest assured, the next day when they realize what youâve done, they’ll thank you for it.On a closing note