Lessons Learned from Being Pulled Over

Just once in my life I would like a warning. I’ve begun to wonder if “warnings” are really a thing and perhaps my other friends who claim to have been pulled over are lying to me. I don’t recall when I got my first ticket. It was likely speeding. There are a few that stick in my mind because I learned something with each of them.

The rolling stop. Age: 19-20 years old. I was on my way to school. It was a four-way stop that never had any other cars any time I’d ever come through. Rolling slowly though, I looked to my right, then my left and saw the cop too late. I went ahead and pulled over and waited for him. One would think that being nice enough not to argue would warrant a warning rather than a ticket. Nope.

Speeding. Age: 20-21 years old. Another instance of seeing the cop too late. Another instance of going ahead and pulling over to wait for the cop to catch up to me. The cop told me how fast I had been going. I must have looked surprised because she asked, “Would you like to see the radar?” Figuring I was likely getting a ticket and it’d be cool to see the radar, I said, “Sure!” She took me to her car where she hit two tuning forks together to show me how the radar worked (it was cool). Being a musician, I knew that hitting two tuning forks together is a good way to ruin them. I decide against telling her this. Ticket.

Speeding (again). Age: 23-24 years old. I was driving from my college in Milledgeville, Georgia to see my then-boyfriend-now-husband in Huntsville, Alabama. I was somewhere around Athens, Georgia. They Might Be Giants (brand new album: Flooood!) was on my stereo. I was the lead car. Don’t be the lead car… Also, use cruise control.

Fall 2016. Age: redacted. The cop supposedly followed me out of my neighborhood and witnessed a rolling stop and a failure to use my blinker. Considering these are common happenings inside a neighborhood, I don’t doubt those happened, but I can’t say for sure either way. But it was dark and I’m highly sensitive to headlights. I seriously doubted his following me but couldn’t really argue because I honestly couldn’t remember. Where he got me? I turned on to a major four-lane divided highway and, instead of establishing myself in the right lane then using a blinker to move over to the left, establish, blinker to the turn lane (all in one tenth of a mile. Yes, I measured.), I went straight into the left lane then the turn lane – no blinker, no establishing. Never mind there was a car in the right lane and had I done as he suggested, I would have cut that car off (never mind that if the car was that close, it would have been better for me to have waited). I also seriously doubt the lack of blinker, but again, I couldn’t remember if I had or not. I’m usually obnoxious in my blinker usage, though. He took my license and registration. (Fun side story: I had just renewed it two days prior. It had been expired for about three months. And I was with my teenage daughter on our way to a Bible study.) When he came back, I knew he’d seen that I hadn’t gotten a ticket in ten years and before that it had been around five years. “Well, I can tell you aren’t a bad driver…” Does he go on to give me a warning? Of course not. Instead, he graciously only wrote me up for one of the offenses (my guess is because he really only witnessed the last one, but I digress) and, “I believe it’s the cheaper of the three.” It wasn’t. They were all the same and all were over $150.

I feel a little sorry for the next cop to pull me over. Being nice and accommodating doesn’t seem to work, so I’ve decided to be blunt and honest and let them know that it would be really nice, JUST ONCE, to get a warning instead of a ticket. Please.

I figure, what the hell, I’ll likely get a ticket anyway.