Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why I Haven't Gotten a Ticket in Four Decades

There has been much discussion over Sandra Blands reaction to being stopped for a traffic infraction and what she could have or should have done. I would like to share my tips for success with traffic stops of my own.

First of all, I haven't been stopped in the last decade because I finally learned a simply rule: stop breaking the law. Yeah, what a concept, eh? Like stop speeding and stop doing California stops and actually use those signals when you change lanes and turn corners. But, I haven't always been so stellar on the road; I liked to drive fast and having been a driving instructor, a delivery driver (which requires fast driving and skidding u-turns to make money), and a PI following people,, I kind of drove like an Indy 500 driver. Mind you, I have been accident free all my adult life because I also did follow the rule of very defensive driving, always expecting the other driver is not going to yield, is drunk, half asleep, yelling at the kids in the back seat, texting, or just zoning out. So, I drove a little fast but quite safely.

Now, to my traffic stops. I will list three I remember:

I was stopped for running four stop signs in a row. 

Me: Did I run a stop sign?
Cop: You ran four, lady!
Me: Ooooh....well, when you have a good thing going....
Cop: ::shaking head:: What's got you in so big a rush?
Me: I was late to the movie at the plaza...I HATE missing the beginning!
Cop: ::hands me warning:: Well, next time, leave earlier!"
Me: I will do that, Sir, thank you.

Speeding on Assateague Island (where you aren't supposed to go over ten or fifteen miles per hour because of the wild horses).

Cop: Do you realize you were going 20 miles over the speed limit?
Me: Oh, well, I can't deny that is probably true. I had a chocolate attack and, well, it was just calling me from the 7-Eleven!
Cop:: ::laughing:: Well, slow down, will you?
Me: Yes, Sir, I will try to control myself.

Going 90 miles an hour on a Wisconsin highway.

Enraged Cop: Why didn't you stop? I have been chasing you for miles!
Me: Stop? Sorry!I didn't see you!
Still Enraged Cop: Didn't you see those people pulling over in front of you?
Me: Oh! I thought they were just getting out of my way!
Cop Now Shaking Head: License, please.
Me: Hmmm....I think it is in the trunk....that's where my purse is. Can I go get it?
Cop, Still Shaking Head: Go get it and come back to my squad car.
Cop goes back to his vehicle and gets in.
I go to my trunk and toss stuff around until I find my purse and the license. I look back at him and triumphantly hold up the license.
Cop waves me back to the passenger side of the vehicle and I get in the squad car.
Me: I found it! Sorry it took so long. I am driving out to Minnesota from Washington DC and I have been on the road for too many hours.
Cop: Do you know you were going 90?
Me: know, I wasn't really paying attention. I think I was zoning out. The roads here are so straight and wide, I think I just was flying along, not paying any mind. ::sigh::
Cop: Well, okay, I am just giving you a warning, but, slow down, will you?
Me: Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!

If you notice in all cases, I fully cooperated with the police officer, I never denied what I did, I never told him he was wrong for stopping me, I kept my hands in sight and I was calm and cooperative. And, in spite of clearly breaking the law, the police officers just gave me warnings. This is what Sandra Bland would have gotten once he determined she was okay to be behind the wheel.

When stopped, cooperate. Even if the cop is an ass, cooperate. Be friendly and nonthreatening. Have your license and registration in sight in your hands and you hands on the wheel BEFORE he arrives at your door. If it is night, turn on the inside light. That way, when he approaches the vehicle, he isn't so worried about being shot. An uncooperative person with moving hands means that they may suddenly pull a weapon out and shoot the officer in the face. Sandra Bland's lack of cooperation and moving hand with a cigarette in it, meant that the officer couldn't be sure what she might do next. This is why everything escalated even to the point of threatening her with the taser; if she kept moving, she might suddenly come up with a gun and the officer would be in trouble. Police officers are always wary that a simple traffic stop might actually be an encounter with a carjacker or a drug runner or someone very dangerous with a warrant out on them.

So, next time you are stopped, stay calm, follow the simple rules above, and you won't end up in a jail cell.

And, of course, there is this classic, hilarious bit from Chris Rock on How Not to Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police!

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

July 29, 2015


Tracy Bullen said...

Or there's this gem from a Comedian...

*'Driver' runs up the back end of a squad car*
Police officer: "You stupid motorist! Didn't you see me?"
Driver: "Well, I hit you, didn't I?"

Preraph said...

Too soon?

Shelley Matz said...

I love Chris Rock! "Shut the fuck up"

And where are all these mad people worried about real victims of crime.

Pat Brown said...

I will repeat, all comments containing ad hominem attacks, rudeness, profanity, and accusations of me being a racist, will be removed. If you do not agree with my point of view, you can politely state yours and it will not be removed.

Anonymous said...

Actually Pat I think the situations you set out here sort of shows why you have the problems you have with the police in America. I live in a country where there have been allegations of bias by the police. Not between whites and blacks but between different religions and quite often the complaint was if you belonged to 1 camp and smiled and flirted with the police you didn't get fined if you belonged to the 2nd camp maintained a professional approach or where a bit hostile you got fined. For me my one and only experience of breaking the law in 30 years was that I drove through a red traffic light. The police pulled me in politely asked me why I had done it. I replied politely that it was a temporary traffic light and I could see clearly nothing was coming. He replied politely that notheless I had committed a traffic offence and therefore fined me £60 and 3 penalty points. Thats how the law should line with the law and not at the discretion of a police officer who is swayed on whether to apply the penalty depending on how nice or how much craic the offender is.