How to Avoid a Speeding Ticket

This article will help you develop the skills to spot cops before they spot you.


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    Drive the speed limit.
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    Take a defensive driving course. Aside from making you a safer driver it'll make you a more aware driver, which you'll need driving at high speeds. One such rule you'll learn is the 12 second rule. You've probably used the 5 second rule, which is looking 5 seconds on the road in front of you. But especially driving at higher speeds you'll find that looking 12 seconds into the future is much safer, and 12 seconds is a lot closer to the limit on the distance police radar can reach. So you'll have enough time to tap the brakes if you spot them.
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    Be aware of every car entering, exiting, and hiding behind other cars. The worst thing to do after narrowly avoiding the cop with a laser gun is to fly past the next cop driving on the same road as you. Be aware of every car in your vicinity. More and more cops today aren't driving Crown Victorias (see tip #4). So keep your eyes open and suspicious of every car you see.
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    Do not search the road for police cars. This is by far the most foolish tactic one can use for identifying cops. Police use everything from Chevrolet Camaros to SUVs to Cadillacs and Ford Mustangs. As you probably know some police don't even use marked cars anymore. So how do you identify a cop before you realize he's cruising next to you?
    • Look for roof lighting. Your brain should pop up a red flag anytime it sees any sort of junk on top of a car. It could easily be police lighting.
    • Look for a spotlight on the drivers side of the vehicle. Only Police package vehicles have this option.
    • Police aren't handicapped. If you see a Ford Crown Victoria with a handicapped tag on it, chances are its just a senior citizen. No use holding up traffic trying to smoothly slip by him.
    • By law, officers are not allowed to endorse any ideology or group on their cars. The cars are owned by the city, so you'll be hard pressed to find a police car with a "Total Princess" sticker on the bumper.
    • Police license plates are made differently than every one else's. In some cases they'll actually say EXEMPT. However, in some cases they won't be different, so you'll need to find out what their license plate's actually look like in your state.
    • In many cases, even an unmarked police car is identifiable by the halogen lamp mounted near the driver's side mirror; however, you may not be able to see this until it's too late.
    • Never speed in residential areas, school zones and construction zones.
    • On 2-lane interstates, stick to the right lane except when passing.
    • An easy way to spot an undercover car/vehicle is to pay close attention to the center brake light that most cars have at the top center of the rear window. Cops center lights are larger because they function as blue and white lights as well. An easy give away is if that center brake light is visible but does not light up red when braking.
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    Look inside the suspicious cars if you can. You might see a cage separating the front seats and back seats. Or you might see the officer's uniform.
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    Try to keep track of speed traps and popular areas for patrols in your region. Ask around for places others have noticed to be police hot-spots.
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    Safety in numbers. Try to join a speed train. By that I mean a train of 3 or more cars all speeding the same amount. The person in front is usually the one who takes the blame when these trains are caught. In addition, if the first person in the train doesn't see the cop, chances are the second person will and they'll brake accordingly to prevent you from being seen driving 90.
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    Beware the bogeyman. If 200 yards (182.9 m) ahead of you a man driving 90 mph (140 km/h) all of a sudden decides to hit his brakes with no one in front of him, you can bet that a cop is probably in his line of sight (but isn't in yours). He might have a radar detector in his car. And since the limit of radar detectors is the same limit as the radar guns themselves, that added distance between you and the car in front of you will make the radar detector that much more effective. Not to mention, you didn't have to pay for it.
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    Establish a pace/bait car. If you find someone who is going approximately the speed you want to go or faster, chase them from a fair distance. If you encounter police, chances are they will trigger the alarm instead of you.
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    Look out for signs of roadside speed detection devices. These can include:
    • Cars pulled over on the side of the road
    • Signs indicating the area is patrolled by cameras, radar, or airborne vehicles
    • Strips in the road that may be used to cover electric speed traps or to calibrate distances in speed camera images
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    If you do get pulled over, there a various things you can do to make it much more likely to get off with a warning.
    • Be sincerely apologetic.
    • Appeal to the police officers desire for safety. Ask the police officer for advice on how to avoid accidentally speeding in the future.
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    Don't be a cocky driver. Cops act very smart, and if you've been busted just smile politely and accept your ticket. You'll see him in court (If you decide to plead innocent).
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    Don't think that the cop will be unlikely to appear in court if you challenge your ticket, many jurisdictions pay overtime or more for time spent in court. In some circumstances since the officer is being paid overtime for being in court he/she may act in your favor for dismissal of the ticket, that is if you were polite and respectful when receiving the citation.


  • Do not attempt to use the "broken speedometer" excuse. It will not work and you'll just get another fine as the law says you need to have a working speedometer, among other things.
  • Do not be a reckless driver. You should always signal properly and change lanes smoothly to avoid bringing attention to yourself.
  • Many states have harsher penalties for excessive speeding, example: 20+ mph over the posted limit. It is advisable to stay under these limits and take a civil fine over a misdemeanor charge.
  • Where it is legal (check state laws and local statutes) invest in a good radar detector such as a Valentine One. This will give you some fore warning and may even keep you from getting a ticket.
  • Do not assume that police will have government or state or exempt license plates. Many agencies now use standard passenger plates and some even use out of state/foreign, i.e Mexican or Canadian license plates. This is rare, but it is done especially among undercover and elite police units.
  • In non-residential areas with speed limits of 55 mph (89 km/h) or higher, most cops have a tendency to "tolerate" speeds that are within 5 to 7 miles (8.0 to 11.3 km) of the posted speed limit.
  • The simplest way to avoid a speeding ticket is by not speeding.
  • Do not get road rage. You driving over 150 mph (240 km/h) doesn't mean someone driving under 25 mph (40 km/h) in a school zone is an idiot, it means you are.


  • Do not speed in residential areas, school zones, and construction zones. Fines are usually higher.
  • Around hills, curves, and opposing traffic it is next to impossible to know a cop is coming, so they love to choose these as their hiding spots. Either slow down or accept the fact that you'll turn into a fugitive trying to out-maneuver the officer turning around to apprehend you.
  • Driving at excessively high speeds decreases the amount of control and reaction time one has on their car.
  • In some areas you can be pulled over for driving too slow as well. For example, Michigan has a minimum speed of 55 mph (89 km/h) on interstates (except during poor weather/road conditions).

Article Info

Categories: Fines and Road Offenses