Tuesday, September 28, 2010

✍ FYI: Ticket-Proof Yourself!

For Your Information...

You know how it goes - you are driving along when suddenly you notice a cop under a bridge with a radar gun, or around the corner or even behind you! Then you start to panic wondering if you are going too fast or is he going to pull you over and so on.
"It's a natural reaction, even when you're driving at the speed limit, says Eric Skrum of the National Motorists Association. After all, just one ticket can hike your insurance rates as much as 25%! "But there are reasons some get pulled over and some don't," he says.
And that means you can make yourself ticket-proof just by:

1. Being extra careful here...
Stay alert as you're driving down a hill or around curves; police often set up radar guns there because they're more inconspicuous - and by the time you spot one, it's too late! Other favorite radar hot spots: over-passes and bridges. And watch out whenever you see a "No U-Turn" sign on a highway; those crossovers are where 85% of police use radar on the interstate!

2. Spending a few dollars to save hundreds!
Police tend to key in on cars that stand out, so if something's not right - say, a taillight is out or your car is coated with dirt - you're much more likely to be stopped, says consumer advice expert Philip Reed of Edmunds.com. fix even minor problems immediately (a new bulb is under $10) and keep your car clean and in good condition: "The more inconspicuous your car, the better," he says.

3. Looking out for truckers!
A good rule of thumb: Follow the speed of commercial trucks. since they're often alerted to speed traps by CB radio, they can clue you in on when to be extra wary. and while your instinct might be to pass a truck on the road, it's better to let them lead, says Reed: "Police cars often drive in front of trucks so you can't see them, and will then catch cars whizzing by trying to pass them." Also, since most truck accidents are actually caused by cars trying to pass, you're safer keeping behind and letting them lead the anyway!

4. Letting your phone or computer help you!
Log on to Trapster.com or NJection.com to downlaod a free application to your mobile phone or GPS that alerts you by voice whenever you apporach a known speed trap, so you can be extra careful. Also helpful: Before you hit the road, go to SpeedTrap.org, ** which maintains an online database of common driver-reported traps!

5. Turning on your radio!
Listening to music makes you less likely to speed than driving in silence, according to a British study. The reason: Music increases alertness and makes you more aware of your surroundings, while also reducing stress and aggressive driving. In a study of more than 2,000 drivers, folks listening to music - andy kind! - were better able to guess their speed and were quicker to realize when they were driving too fast.

6. Picking the right lane!
There's a reason the left lane is called the "fast lane" - it's where cars tend to speed, which is why police usually watch it more carefully, says Reed. Plus, if everyone else in the lane is going faster, you'll feel pressured to keep up, too, and unknowingly increase your speed. Another reason to avoid the left lane: "It statistically has the highest number of accidents," Reed says.

Resource: Woman's World Magazine, 04-26-2010 Issue, P.44, author Alison Bell

**For Canadians: SpeedTrap.org/state/60/Ontario

More information you can use to avoid speeding tickets:
Opposite direction of travel

One of the easiest and most reliable cop detectors available is oncoming cars flashing their headlights. This signal indicates either a roadblock, a cop sitting on the median, or a cop with someone pulled over up ahead issuing a ticket. Headlight signaling has been reliable but the problem is that only about 10% of the drivers will extend this courtesy to you and then for only about a mile or two down the road. On heavily traveled days this can be very dependable especially on interstate highways so always keep an eye out for the flashing of headlights day or night.

Same direction of travel

Here you will be looking not for headlights but for brakelights. There is little need to tap your brakes on an interstate highway on even the busiest days so if you see a car or cars ahead of yours brakelights come on for no observable reason, the driver is probably hitting the brakes from instinct after seeing a cop. Also keep your eyes glancing towards the rear view mirror periodically to watch out for cops coming up from behind and surprising you.

Cop with a driver pulled over

Don't worry about the cop with someone pulled over ahead because unless you are dangerously exceeding the limit they will not stop writing a ticket to give you one. There is a myth out there that when you see a cop on the side of the road with a customer there will probably be no more cops on that stretch of road for the next 20-30 miles. This can be true and I have noticed this but I have also noticed cops working in pairs so don't rely on this too much.
The median
The median, or the mall as some call it, is where you usually find the cops hanging around waiting to catch speeders. The best spot on the median is the No U Turn crossover and this is where you will find the cops 85% of the time while traveling on interstate highways. The No U Turn signs indicate that there is a crossover coming up and if you see a No U Turn sign coming around a turn beware since that is one of the favorite spot. They will also set up shop in the median where there is no official crossover ,such as set back into some trees somewhere.

It is important to notice the construction of the median especially if you travel the same highway often. Notice where the cross over points are that a cop could use if they are going the opposite direction and decide to come get you. There are some situations where there is no median other that a concrete barrier and this is almost a license to speed since they can't hide there or turn around for quite some time.

Unmarked cars

Spotting unmarked cars is very easy to the trained eye. They are usually late model, domestic four door cars stripped down as much as possible. They will have the cheapest hubcaps if any at all, have a one tone paint job with no fancy trim and be littered with antennas. Another sign is the spotlight sticking out of the driver's side front post. Basically what you end up with in an unmarked car is a full size luxury sedan that is stripped down to the bones that no civilian would be caught bringing home from a new car dealer. I really wonder if some civilians order their cars this way?

Resource: keelynet.com

Ok, so having read all this does not mean you can now go out there and drive like you 'own-the-road'. This information is for all you decent drivers out there that sometimes, for whatever reasons, find yourself running late and need to speed. Having said this, safety is number one so always be aware of your surroundings - watch out for others and be courteous on the roads!

Oh, and if all else fails and you do get pulled over - be honest! Honesty goes a long way, so swallow that pride and let him give you a good lecturing and agree with him!

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