Tips to Avoid Traffic School

Police Stop

Not getting a ticket seems so simple.

All you have to do is follow the rules of the road, and you’re virtually guaranteed to live a life free of traffic tickets and, worse, traffic school.

Go the speed limit, stop at stop signs, use your blinker, yada yada yada. It’s not hard to follow the rules of the road.

Unless, of course, your car has other plans. Sometimes traffic rules just don’t jive with what your car has in mind. This became evident in two scenarios over the past week that should serve to remind us all of the importance of not getting pulled over and thus avoiding a weekend in traffic school.

First, my girlfriend got pulled over for speeding. It really wasn’t her fault. Her car has adaptive cruise control, so she sets it to 75 on the highway and lets the car adjust to stay with the traffic flow.

It’s a wonderful feature to use, until you’re off the highway and on surface streets but haven’t adjusted the cruise setting. Without even thinking and certainly not on purpose, you’re pulled over for going 50 in a 35. That’s what happened to my girlfriend. She did her best to be cute and flirt her way out of the ticket, even going so far as to blame the car and it’s convenient cruise feature, but it didn’t work. In fact, she now has a traffic-school appointment.

Avoiding tickets by staying in your lane and stopping at red lights is easy. With technology now, though, it can be more difficult, because our cars do so much of our thinking for us.

I nearly had the same thing happen just a few days ago. In a zone that drops from a 45-mph speed limit to a 35-mph limit, I had my non-adaptive cruise set at 50. I blew by a waiting State Patrol officer, had a minor heart attack when I realized my speed, and started the process of pulling myself over and wondering if traffic school had one more opening. But the officer never pulled up behind me.

After exhaling a giant sigh of relief, and vowing to never use cruise again when not on a limited-access highway, I realized that cars can contribute to tickets as much as human ignorance.

The moral of the story? Always be aware. Don’t do the obvious things like roll through Stop signs and red lights, don’t change lanes in intersections, and make sure you pull over for emergency vehicles. If your car helps you drive, don’t rely on its systems to follow the law. It sounds silly, but twice in a week it was proven to me that doing so could have expensive consequences.

Have you been pulled over recently?

-tgriffith

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