How To Avoid Speed Traps, And Not Get Pulled Over For Speeding
Published 10/30/07 (Modified 3/8/11)
Over the years I've spent way too much money paying speeding tickets and appearing in traffic court to contest routine moving violations. Despite my recent out of state $1,000 speeding ticket, my in-state traffic record continues to indicate zero points and ironically, my auto insurance premium even recently went down. Due to the nonuniform enforcement of out of state traffic violations, I've been lucky so far in terms of my insurance premium not going up, but eventually my luck might run out. As someone who preaches the wisdom of frugality, I have to include speeding tickets and moving violation penalties such as reckless driving, improper lane changes, and running red lights, as examples of frivolous and terribly unnecessary expenses that ought to be prevented.
Speeding tickets are a complete waste of your hard earned money. The best way to avoid having to pay the high price of an expensive speeding ticket is to avoid getting a speeding ticket to begin with. Obviously, the no-brainer way to avoid getting one is to simply not speed. But if you're like the majority of people who safely travel above the limit on occasion, here are strategies I've learned to adopt that help to minimize the chances of being pulled over by the police for speeding or getting nailed at a speed trap.
Tips On How To Avoid Getting Busted By Traps and Cops
1) Don't Speed - This one is obvious. If you don't speed, you have nothing to fear. Unless you are a baby boomer over the age of 65 though, chances are you will likely speed, so this advice is probably not practical.
2) Know the Speed Limits and Where Popular Speed Traps Are - I frequently travel through certain interstate highways where police cruisers and speed traps are plentiful. I've learned to slow down more when I approach these danger areas. The police have certain areas they like to patrol. Beware of their favorite speed trap locations - less congested down hill slopes are their favorite areas, particularly ones that follow a long uphill climb. They like to wait at the bottom of the long hill with their radar detector guns and clock you as you appear at the top of the hill crest.
3) Don't Rely On a Radar Detector Or Jammer - In my opinion, radar detectors are absolutely useless and a complete waste of money. I've sat in my friend's car armed with a radar detector only to have it go off randomly every few minutes whenever it detects stray signals, like the signal given off by automatic doors at grocery stores. Pretty much everything sets them off and their warnings are unreliable. Even if it detects a positive signal, most likely it's already too late because the officer has already gotten a positive lock on you. Jammers are illegal in most jurisdictions so you should not own one to begin with.
4) Behave Like Fish - This is my most valuable advice. Fish swim in large schools because there is great security in numbers - you should adopt their strategy. The more cars are around you the less chance you will be targeted by the police and they are likely to go after someone else. If you find yourself driving alone or as the lead car, be very careful because you are now a prime target. Always try to stay behind a faster driver or around drivers traveling at similar speeds.
5) Avoid the Fast Lane - It's not referred to as the fast lane for nothing. The left lane is the passing lane and where police frequently focus their speed trap efforts. Try to avoid driving on the passing lane for extended periods, unless you are following a faster car.
6) Piggy Back Frequently - The lead car is the one in most danger of getting clocked by police waiting at a speed trap. Always try to make sure there is someone in front of you to take the brunt.
7) Be Very Aware of Your Surroundings - When I drive, I always try to be aware of what is going on around me. I scan far ahead and in my rear view mirror for patrol cars. I try to follow the stream of traffic and avoid standing out from the pack in terms of speed.
8) Recognize What a Police Patrol Cruiser Looks Like - Police cars come in different colors but they are usually the classic Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor model shown above. They are pretty easy to recognize due to their distinguishable front grill. Police cruisers also usually have a red and blue siren light mount on the top with numerous antennas sticking out in the back. They also rarely have things dangling on their rear view mirrors. If you see a car with one of those fuzzy dice decorations, chances are he or she isn't a cop.
Good luck and drive safe!