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How To Avoid Receiving a Traffic Ticket

by Emmanuel Fontain-Ogwang

We’ve all been there.

For some reason or another you’ve been pulled over or cited in some way and handed a piece of paper that makes your blood boil. Well not anymore, below are a few tips to keep your blood pressure low and your confidence high that you won’t receive a traffic ticket.

Put your seatbelt on and let’s go!...

Traffic laws

The first step to actually avoiding traffic tickets begins with a complete and thorough understanding of the traffic laws in the state that you live in. You’re free to argue about which state has better pizza, broadway shows or even more attractive people but the traffic laws are a no-go.

Because traffic laws can vary from state to state, it's super important to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in your area and not get caught out. Driving across state lines and telling an officer “yeah, well, that’s not a thing in L.A” is an easy way to find yourself in deep trouble. Key areas that you should ultimately pay attention to include the difference in speed limits, traffic signs, and right-of-way rules. Staying informed and adhering to these laws is your first line of defense against traffic violations, don’t think you can just talk your way out of it because you “didn’t know”.

Traffic updates

Another essential way to help you avoid traffic tickets is staying clued up about current road conditions and traffic updates. Being uninformed, whether it’s on the road or in life in general is a sure fire way to make terrible decisions. For example, let’s say you don’t check any traffic updates on your way to picking up your kid from practice.

It’s just your luck that the roads are pretty jammed so you end up speeding whenever you get some clear road ahead of you. You’d rationalize that you’re doing so because you love your kid, and you need to be there to pick them up so they’re safe. That’s true… but what’s also true is that nobody else cares about your kid like you do. Especially a traffic cop doing their job and you can bet your life savings that you’re getting a ticket for speeding.

You can use a variety of different things to check traffic updates, such as traffic apps, local news, and the radio. Being aware of things like road closures, accidents, or construction zones can help you plan your route in advance, preventing law violations that may lead to a ticket.

Slow down!

Speeding is easily one of the most common reasons for somebody receiving a traffic ticket and admittedly… we’ve all done it! It’s too easy to rationalize why we need to get somewhere faster but if everybody thought like this on the road then most of us wouldn’t even make it to our intended destinations.

To steer clear of speeding tickets, we have to bite the bullet and obey the posted speed limits at all times. There are apps you can download that will tell you in detail the speed limits of your route. Not to mention, many modern vehicles are equipped with cruise control systems that can help you maintain a consistent speed, reducing the likelihood of unintentionally speeding.

Remember… speed limits can change frequently especially in residential areas and work zones, so stay vigilant and adjust your speed accordingly. You may not realize it but you could be speeding in an area with children! Which brings us on to…

School zones

School zones have lower speed limits during certain hours of the day to protect children and pedestrians. This is pretty self explanatory and I doubt anybody reading this would ever want to be in an accident where they run a person over - let alone a small child!

Pay close attention to these zones and the designated speed limits, you may not always be aware of the signage. Even if you’re almost 100% sure that it’s not a school zone, it would still be best to cut the speed as a caution. Speeding in a school zone usually comes with hefty fines on a traffic ticket and can tarnish an otherwise perfect driving record.

Red Lights and Stop Signs

Running red lights and stop signs is not only insanely dangerous but can also result in traffic tickets like you wouldn’t believe. Always come to a complete stop at stop signs and wait for the signal to turn green at red lights. That’s right, not before , don’t try to gauge it, a few hundredths of a second won’t matter if you’re late somewhere. But not waiting for those few hundredths of a second could end up causing a fatality. Is it really worth it?

Extra caveat - some states do permit right turns on red lights after a complete stop, but this is not universal, so please check the local laws in your area.

Put your seatbelt on

It is such an easy thing to do.

Yet, somehow, it’s also simultaneously such an easy thing to forget to do and traffic cops won’t care that you “just forgot” or “just had it on a second ago”.

Seat belt violations are easy to get cited for because they’re not only easy to spot but also super hard to rectify while driving. Not to mention it’s very dangerous to try and put your seatbelt on while your vehicle is moving.

To avoid these citations, ensure that everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seatbelt and don’t pull off until you’re sure they are. It is not only a legal requirement in most states but also a crucial safety measure to protect yourself and your passengers. Because when you get pulled over, it’s going to be your name on that traffic ticket - nobody else’s.

Look after your vehicle

Keeping your vehicle in the best condition you can will help you dodge traffic tickets related to poor maintenance. Make it a habit to check your lights, signals, brakes, tires, and other essential components regularly. This is also a safety issue, if the person behind you can’t see that you’re braking and keep their speed, then things could become a lot worse than just a ticket.

Or perhaps your turn signals don’t work and a biker tries to go past you and unbeknownst to them you are actually making a turn right into them. Failing to use your turn signals can result in traffic tickets for reckless driving or improper lane changes.

These small habits of checking your car’s condition, while tedious, will save lives and tickets. Park legally

Yup. Even if you think you’re “only going to be 5 minutes”.

Parking violations result in traffic tickets because people think they can either ignore them or that they’ll be quick enough to avoid the attention of a traffic cop. Now, while that may be true, you could get away with parking illegally one time. That isn’t going to be the case everytime and you will undoubtedly be caught out.

Pay close attention to parking regulations, including metered parking, no-parking zones, and time-limited parking areas. Ignoring parking rules can lead to fines and the inconvenience of having your vehicle towed.

Imagine that? You only went in to grab something quickly and now… you’ve lost your car because it’s getting towed.

Distracted driving

Our phones are the biggest culprits here.

It’s all too tempting to check our phones as soon as we hear a notification and that’s fine to do as long as your vehicle isn’t in motion.

Distracted driving is a growing concern in the United States, with many states enacting laws to combat this dangerous behavior. Even if you’re just texting back “ok”, those brief seconds you take not paying attention to the road can lead to a traffic ticket or an accident.

This doesn’t just pertain to texting, this also includes talking on the phone, changing the radio, and even eating while driving - all of these can lead to traffic tickets. Stay focused on the road and use hands-free devices when necessary to swerve citations for distracted driving.

Work zones

Work zones generally have reduced speed limits and increased fines for violations, mostly because people here won’t be paying attention to the road. It’s somewhat impossible to, for example, carry a 100lb steel pole in a construction area and also check the speed of nearby cars.

Always remain vigilant when driving through construction areas, and always adhere to the posted speed limits. Fines for work zone violations can be substantially higher than regular traffic violations and nobody wants to see money down the drain in this economy.

Keep your record as clean as your car

Your driving record plays a significant role in determining whether you receive a traffic ticket or not. When you’re pulled over, traffic cops will have access to your driving record and a multitude of tickets will not bode well for your case. If there was ever a situation where a traffic cop was going to be lenient, it would likely be in the event whereby a person pulled over had probably never had a ticket before.

To maintain a clean driving record, strive to follow traffic laws, attend defensive driving courses if necessary, and pay attention to the road.

You can change that Taylor Swift or Drake song later when you’ve parked up.

Fight the power

One way of avoiding a traffic ticket is to fight it.

If you believe you have received a traffic ticket unjustly, consider contesting it in court. The legal system allows you to present your case, and if the court rules in your favor, the ticket may be dismissed. Keep in mind that contesting a ticket can be time-consuming, so be prepared to invest the necessary time and effort. As much as we’d all love to walk into court and have the ticket torn up in the traffic cop’s face - life unfortunately doesn’t work that way.

Even if you find yourself facing a serious traffic violation, such as a DUI or reckless driving charge, consider hiring an attorney. An experienced traffic attorney can help you navigate the legal process, potentially reducing the charges and penalties associated with your case.

In conclusion, avoiding traffic tickets in the United States is primarily a matter of following the law, being a responsible and courteous driver, and staying informed about local regulations.

It sounds simple because… it is!