How Not To Get A Traffic Ticket

>> Tuesday, February 23

The last traffic ticket that I got was in 1992. I was living in California then, driving from Visalia to Los Angeles, in the long lazy stretch of highway past Bakersfield. I was driving my brand new electric blue Toyota Paseo with "Sweet Child O'Mine" by Guns N' Roses blasting on my stereo. Before I know it, my sweet soprano was interrupted by flashing lights in my rear view mirror. Yup, I was speeding. Not badly, about 10 mph over the limit. My excuse, my lame excuse? I was making sure my speedometer was correctly functioning. No kidding. I actually told that to the Highway Patrol guy.
In the ensuing 18 years, I have gotten a ticket again. The closest call was kinda funny. Different car, different state.
I was driving home from KFC with my 2 year old son in my cherry red 2-seater Honda del sol convertible. No blaring music this time. My son was strapped to his baby booster next to me with a bucket of chicken on his lap.
I was driving through Atlantic Beach, FL with its many 4 way stops. I stopped a full 5 seconds (okay, maybe 2) at every stop sign and again saw some flashing lights. I was not speeding, far from that. I was actually very cautious. I had been a converted cautious driver since the birth of my kids.
The cop sidled up beside my window and the sight to him may have been amusing. Me, clearly a mom rushing home to get "dinner" to the table, the smell of delicious Colonel chicken wafting out the window.
My driver's license and registration yielded my ticket-less for many years state.
Apparently I had a busted tail light. I got away with a warning and my baby thoroughly enjoyed the show.

So here is what I have learned:
1. Do not speed! I always think that speeding will save me a few minutes and I will get to my destination sooner especially when I am running late. But the hundred some dollar ticket is absolutely not worth it. I am very good at apologizing for my tardiness.

2. Do not switch lanes! Decide on your lane and if you know what lane you need to be, stick to it. If you think you can speed up your journey by switching lanes, see number 1.

3. It is okay to drive a red convertible. Small red car does not equal police magnet. I am living proof of that.

And lastly:
4. Always, always, always wear your seat belt. My aforementioned blue Toyota was totaled in an accident (the hazards of the Tulle fog, a thick fog that envelopes the Central Valley in CA certain times of the year). My seat belt saved my life.


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