Almost everyone likes speeding, but very few people like speeding tickets. We don't condone breaking the law, but if you found it necessary to convince an officer of your innocence, this is how you would do it.
This is Flashback Friday, a weekly feature where we republish classic stories from the Jalopnik archives. Think of it as Jalopnik's "Best Of"' series. We chose this particular story because summer is speed season, and because a certain Jalopnik staff member recently had a friendly run-in with the state police. -Ed.
There's nothing fun about being on the receiving end of the question: "May I see your license and registration please?" Although we don't condone it occurring on public roads, as automotive enthusiasts, whether you drive a Se7en or a Sentra, speeding in a controlled and safe manner in front of the police occasionally happens. Fortunately, whether you get a ticket, a warning or a pass is completely at the discretion of the officer that pulls you over. For this reason, we've surveyed your experiences and identified ten strategies that seem to have worked the best.
Not everyone is buddy-buddy with the police chief or on their way to a funeral. But everybody poops. When the traffic cop suggests you hand over your info, make sure to bounce around with a pained look on your face. When the officer asks you what's going on just mention that you just had some greasy Thai food and you just have to beat the Lard Na home. If you're not quite so dramatic, you can just follow SupermotoThud and tell the fuzz "I have to poop." [Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]
Never underestimate the staggering power of a strong will and a little psychology. If someone was able to convince GM that people would love the "unique" design of the Pontiac Aztec despite all evidence to the contrary, you should be able to convince the highway patrol you don't deserve a ticket. Obi-Wan Kenobi did it with the force, but hypnotists and mentalists have been using tricks to convince people to do things against their better judgment for centuries. Maymar suggests you tell the officer "This isn't the speeding car you're looking for" and slowly wave your hand in front of them — sort of like what Beercheck did when confronted with an officer. Just try to not get shot.
Most of the literature in this area suggests, and Isetta agrees, that a woman crying is the ultimate way to prevent a ticket. While we'll agree that a weeping woman can create a strong feeling of sympathy, the site of a man breaking down on the side of the road should have more of an impact because of the relative infrequency. [Photo: Getty Images]
We hadn't though of it until Jduffy13 suggested it, but being able to quote Shakespeare from memory at command, any command, might make a great impression on Johnny Law. And though that impression might be that you're drunk or insane, at the very least it puts them on their heals momentarily. Why not incorporate it into the discussion?
Off, Off Traffic Officer
Life Is But A Flashing Strobe Light
A Poor Driver Who Speeds And Swerves His Hour Upon The Road
And Is Ticketed No More
It could work.
If it weren't for humor a great many people on this site would have ended up selling burgers and living in their mom's basement, so why not use these same skills to make the 5-0 laugh and, hopefully, let you off. MyDatsunIsInCali suggests this joke if the opportunity presents itself:
On an empty country road-
Officer- where are you going in such a hurry?
Me- just keeping up with traffic, officer
Officer- I don't see any traffic
Me- that's how far behind I am, I was trying to keep up! (insert unfunny drum noise) "da dum ching"
Officer- Just slow down. (walks back to car shaking head)
If they don't laugh just say "What are you, the joke police?" [Photo: Getty Images]
Being untruthful brings along serious risks. You could perjure yourself. You could make the situation worse. You could make millions of dollars for yourself and destroy the economy. So long as the opposite of what you're saying can't be proven, estern suggests something along these lines:
Am I glad to see you! I was almost run off the road by this idiot in a (make, model, color of vehicle that passed you). This guy was definitely hammered. You are putting yourself on the side of "public safety" and the cop will not want to take a chance that this fictitious drunk won't kill someone.
It might work. Just remember, police are smart. [Photo by Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images]
Sometimes you're speeding for a good reason. You're having a baby. You're late for an important meeting. The police are people, too. They also hear a lot of BS (see above) so maybe the truth will impress them, if only for the novelty of it. Afborroni tries this true plea:
My line is true, and my plea is earnest. "Officer, I'm in sales, I drive a company car for a living, and every point i get on my license is additional money docked from my paycheck. The consequences of the ticket you're about to give me are far greater for me than for anyone else... please reconsider this as I could lose my job because of a speeding ticket."
Also, try telling them you're an automotive journalist if that's true. [Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
As anyone who has called tech support for a $10 router they bought at Fry's knows, speaking with someone who doesn't completely understand your language is frustrating. Assuming you have a funny name or look foreign, you could always follow c0de's advice and affect a foreign accent so complicated that they're unable to comprehend what you're saying and just let you off with a warning. This does not work if your name is John Smith or Sarah Jones, but is great if you're a member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Try perfecting a weird Eastern European dialect. We tell people we're Estonian because, c'mon, what are the odds a cop has ever been to Estonia? [Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images]
Unless you're driving something like a Lagonda, which has a purely digital read-out, it is always possibly that your speedo works. In fact, if you're driving a Lagonda there's a better than average chance your equipment doesn't work. "Do you know how fast you were going?" Perhaps you really didn't. DrJimmy successfully convinced a Sheriff's deputy that his speedometer was on the fritz. If you're frequently a speed trap target, perhaps you should really just disengage your speedometer and hope for the best.
They say you attract more flies with honey than vinegar. It's quite possible you repel more tickets this way as well. Sitting on the side of the road watching car-after-car pass by isn't a stimulating job and having to endure crying, excuses and bad accents probably wears some officers down. Being polite and following these steps from Macfarlane.A could go a long way:
Stop your vehicle. Roll down your window. Turn off the ignition. Place your keys on the roof. This way the cop knows that you're not going to try anything stupid before he/she even steps out of the cruiser, and is immediately put at ease.
Also, say "Yes, officer" and "No, officer" always helps. [Photo by China Photos/Getty Images]
There's no sure-fire way to avoid every ticket if you're going to speed in the first place so there's certainly no guarantee that any of these work. But, it beats making a run for it. That almost never works. Unless you're on a motorcycle or driving a super car. If you have any amendments or suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments below.
This post originally appeared on Jalopnik on September 24, 2008 at 4:00 PM EST.