10 Ways to Help Avoid Getting a Ticket

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Encounters with law enforcement are rarely fun. It’s one of the most dreadful feelings in the world when red and blue lights fill your rear-view mirror.

However, traffic stops and being pulled over are a fact of life. Maybe you were speeding. Perhaps that last text message you sent was a little too obvious. It could have been that you ran a red light; it’s even possible you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whatever the case may be, you’re about to be detained on the side of the road for the next few minutes … or more.

SEE ALSO: What NOT to do When Pulled Over

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of getting a ticket, one that costs you serious cash and could increase your insurance premiums. Here are 10 topical tips that might help you sidestep a citation.

10. Pull Over Quickly

As soon as you see an officer’s strobes or hear the siren, it’s a good idea to pull over as soon as safely possible. Don’t keep driving for block after block or wait for the next exit ramp to stop. You don’t want the officer to think you’re leading them on some kind of chase, so pull over promptly. Also, if you can make it to a side street or a parking lot, it’s even better. The officer will be safer without having to walk along a heavily trafficked thoroughfare and they’ll be thankful for that.

9. Turn Off the Engine

Unless the temps are hovering in the minus 40-degree range, it’s usually a good idea to shut off your vehicle’s engine during traffic stops. This act of good faith lets the law-enforcement representative involved know you’re not going to try to run. In certain situations, officers will ask you to kill the engine anyway, so be prepared to comply with this request if necessary.

8. Keep Your Hands on the Wheel

Once you’ve pulled over, it’s always prudent to keep your paws on the tiller — or really anywhere in plain sight — so the police officer can see what you’re doing. With clear visibility, they know you’re not reaching for a concealed weapon or trying to stash incriminating evidence. This can go a long way to putting the officer at ease, which can help you get off with a warning instead of extra paperwork.

7. Turn on Interior Lights

Likewise, during nighttime traffic stops, it’s prudent to turn on your vehicle’s interior lights. This gives the officer better visibility and will help them feel a little less stressed because they can see what’s happening. And honestly, would you want to approach a darkened car in the dead of night?

6. Silence is Golden

After promptly pulling over, killing the engine and keeping your hands in plain sight, it’s extremely important to turn off the radio and/or hang up the phone. Failing to do either shows contempt for the officer involved. If you don’t show a little respect for their authority, they’re unlikely to be kind to you. This is common sense, but it actually happens. Don’t be one of those people.

5. Keep ‘em Quiet

Aside from silencing your phone and vehicle’s audio system, it behooves you to tell any passengers to remain quiet during traffic stops. For clarity, only one person should interact with the police officer(s) involved. Also, it’s wise to have your fellow travelers keep their hands visible.

4. Don’t Lie

Unless your tail light burned out three minutes beforehand, chances are you know exactly why you’ve been pulled over. Accordingly, don’t try to lie to the officer that just pulled you over. You weren’t swerving all over the road because of an allergy attack; you didn’t have to drive 90 miles an hour because your wife is having a baby. Cops have finely calibrated BS meters, so don’t try to mislead them; they can see through your smokescreen like radar piercing through clouds.

3. Stay Put

One thing you should never EVER do during a traffic stop is get out of your vehicle. The only time it’s acceptable to exit your car or truck is when requested to do so by an officer. Otherwise, getting out of the car is a big no-no and is extremely unnerving to law enforcement. One of the best things you can do is just stay put; naturally, the same applies to passengers as well.

2. A Little Politeness Goes a Long Way

Guess what? If you’re nice to the police officer, chances are they’ll reciprocate. Lose the bad attitude, answer their questions and act in a courteous manner. Being on your best behavior can really help you sidestep a ticket. Be friendly and polite.

1. Don’t Argue

And finally, if you do end up receiving a “reward” don’t argue with the officer that gave it to you. They did what they’re required to do and now is not the time to protest. Arguing or cussing them out could get you in more trouble, so please, accept your citation and continue on your way. Of course, if you feel you’ve been wronged, by all means fight the ticket, but do so in an official manner by taking it to court.

Check out our Tips and Advice Section.

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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2 of 51 comments
  • Chris Chris on Aug 08, 2016

    Don't speed. Don't roll through stop signs. Don't make illegal turns. Don't cut people off. Keep your vehicles legal. Drive politely.

  • JumbleMan JumbleMan on Oct 30, 2016

    UMMMM Wrong....... 10. Buy a top notch Laser/Radar Detector. 9. Buy a Radar Jammer 8. Use Waze for Early Alerts 7. Use Cobra iRadar for Early Detection 6.Drive an Average looking Car = Average Citizen (Do NOT be a Statistic) 5. Pay Attention to Date & Time (Drinking Holidays / Time at Night = More officers/Road blocks) 4. Know where you are 3. Have PrePlanned Route + Backup to Destination 2. Do a Minimum amount of Joy Riding 1. If all Else Fails and You know its Jail Time for you RUUUNNNNNNNN!!!!!! (Get Away in First 2 Minutes for Best Chances)