Avoid getting caught with your accelerator down
Nothing ruins a great run than flashing red lights in your rearview mirror. We here at Autobytel don’t condone speeding, and remind readers that sticking to the speed limit saves fuel and lives. But we realize many of you are likely planning to experience the thrill of the go pedal just as soon as that furniture truck gets out of your way, so…here’s a few tips to help you avoid giving America’s Finest a bad case of writer’s cramp. Note: You didn’t read it here.
They don’t call it “Gimme A Ticket Red” for nothin’, and you can add yellow and orange to that list as well. It’s not just the color either; that two-foot spoiler you had to have after watching The Fast and the Furious marathon doesn’t just attract the attention of all your imaginary lady friends. The more your car stands out, the higher your odds of attracting the ticket-writing kind of attention. Save the eye candy for the car shows and the track.
Speeding in unknown territory is a kamikaze run. As you drive your regular routes, watch for blind corners, side streets, parked cars, basically anything that offers enough cover for a patrol cruiser or motorcycle. Supports for bridges on wide medians offer excellent cover, and let Smokey watch both sides of the highway without being spotted. Take note of all the possible hiding places and highlight the ones where you actually spot them so you’ll remember to slow down as you approach next time.
When you speed is just as important as where you speed. Law enforcement matches their peak man hours with peak traffic times because, well, if there’s more of us they need more of them. The ones you see sitting on the freeway at peak traffic periods are usually commuters like us getting to or from their jurisdiction. The ones you have to watch out for are staked out on your favorite “shortcut” to beat traffic. Let’s face it, the only reason its 30 seconds shorter is because you’re doing 60 mph in a 35 mph zone, and they know it too.
Speeding during holidays really isn’t a bright move. You’re playing Speed Racer while heading to a pool party to enjoy the 95-degree weather, and the man with the badge and full uniform is working in that heat. He’s going to make sure speeders pay for every holiday minute he spends on duty and away from his own party. Avoid speeding with the hangover breakfast crowd, too, or you’ll be snatched up as an appetizer between courses of DUIs. Besides, your reaction time may be fine, but how about the reaction time of those late night and holiday partiers?
It would be great if there were signs posting speed traps, but savvy drivers look for other signs. Believe it or not, traffic didn’t slow from 80 to 53 mph for the simple purpose of ticking you off. More than likely, there’s a patrol man in their midst. Even if a donut ranger isn’t present, there may be an accident, or more importantly a 50 percent-off sale on Skin and Volcom stickers.
It seems obvious, but a lot people admit that they’re so focused on watching for cops in front of them that they missed the one who snuck up behind and followed them with red lights flashing for five miles. And be extra cautious at night: Police officers can slip into your draft with no headlights, and you won’t know it until your rearview mirror is ablaze with a light show rivaling an Area 51 welcoming committee.
Downhill slalom at the Winter Olympics draws huge crowds, and so does using slower traffic as slalom cones. Accent it with a blinker flashing left-right-left and you’re advertising for a police escort. Watch the guy doing this and you’ll see he really isn’t making much more headway then those biding their time for the right opening. Patience grasshopper, even that smoke belching Olds Cutlass you passed ten miles ago will get there faster than you if you stop for autographs.
Don’t you hate it when an oncoming car flashes its lights at you for no reason? Yeah, your brights aren’t on, but get “bright” and recognize the courtesy flash warning of a speed trap ahead. This practice was a lot more common a few years ago than it is today. We’re all in it together, so watch for those flashes and slow down, then return the favor when you get a chance.
In order to keep the cosmic balance, somebody has to get a ticket. Offer up the jerk weaving through traffic and tailgating everyone on the road. When approaching your favorite speed trap, drive the speed limit and get him nice and riled. Once you approach the radar zone, give him just enough room to let him squeak by. He’ll be in such a hurry to pass and tell you you’re number one that he’ll never notice Mr. Officer and his book of fun. Balance restored.
Here’s a good idea: save it for the track. That’s right, drive safely on public roads and you’re sure to avoid tickets from ticked off cops on holiday duty or speed trap divas. Plus, driving too fast on public roads is just plain stupid, so don’t do it. Save the money you’d spend on tickets and traffic school for a weekend at the nearest raceway. Not only will it be more fun, but you might actually learn how to drive fast.