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How to Avoid Speed Traps and a Speeding Ticket

Motorcycle Police Officer at intersection - NHTSA

Getting a Speeding Ticket is Easy

It’s that sudden moment when you’re driving down a freeway, you catch the flash of red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror coming fast. Your reflex directs your attention to your speedometer, and you realize just how fast you are going. In the next few critical moments, you may be faced with a speeding ticket and a hefty fine.

Going with the Flow of Traffic

When I used to go on the once in a while trip to Las Vegas from California, I would see this situation playing out on the road with other drivers. The flat landscape of the desert would create the optical illusion that you weren’t going very fast, and unconsciously, everyone on the road would speed up. The only way to truly know how fast you were going was to look at the speedometer or judge by the speed of traffic around you.

Along that stretch to Vegas, you see the occasional cop with someone pulled over getting a ticket. Weekends to and from Las Vegas must be for cops like shooting fish in a barrel. There’s nothing worse than having to pay off a speeding ticket with the money you were going to have fun with for the weekend. Except for maybe losing all your money in Vegas and then getting a speeding ticket.

Avoid Speed Traps and a Speeding Ticket

With that in mind, we will walk through the situation from start to finish so you can get a better understanding of how to avoid speed traps and speeding tickets.

Watch for Planes

From the air, police sometimes use planes to spot speeders. All it takes is an eye in the sky that spots your swift lane changes around other vehicles, and once it’s radioed in, they have your vehicle description, and they will be waiting to seize the opportunity ahead of you.
If you see a helicopter or a plane following the flow of traffic, chances are they are looking for speeders. The best thing to do is slowly lower your speed and don’t weave in and out of traffic.

Watch for Sudden Drops in Speed Limits.

Another thing to be aware of is the sudden drop in the speed limit. This comes usually before you enter a city’s limits. It’s where many police lay in wait for the unsuspecting speeder, so instead of getting a ticket for doing 70 mph in a 65-mph zone, you get caught doing 70 mph in a 55-mph zone, and this increases the fine.

Be Aware of Overpasses

When you go under an overpass, many times cops will be sitting on the on-ramp on the other side with a radar gun. You won’t have time to adjust your driving once you see them, so assume that they are there before you go under an overpass.

When Already Caught in the Speed Trap

Next, we’ll go over what to do if you see a cop zooming up behind you. Never try to outrun them, because although you may have a fast car, their radios are faster.


If you are driving stick, (standard shifting) you can have an advantage by down-shifting. By shifting to a lower gear and letting off the clutch slowly, you can slow the car without your tail lights telling the cop coming up behind you that you’ve seen him and are slowing down. If you are driving an automatic, just let up on the accelerator without hitting the brakes.

Change your illumination.

If it is night and you blast through a speed trap and you know a cop is chasing, slow down, change lanes and then change your illumination. Switch your headlights to high beams, or if you are already using your high beams, switch to regular lighting. Your car will appear slightly different and if they didn’t get a good look, the cop is less likely to pull you over.

Answering Questions

When the police ask “Do you know why I pulled you over?” it’s not because they don’t know. They want to know if you know, and if you give them the correct answer, you just validated their reasoning for pulling you over.

You are always better off pleading ignorance to this question, and don’t ever give them a smart answer like, “because you thought I had donuts!”. Say you don’t know, even if you do.

Fighting a Speeding Ticket

When you sign a citation, you haven’t admitted guilt in the matter, but fighting the ticket is easier than it sounds. Police sometimes look for out-of-state license plate cars to pull over because they figure you will never show up to fight the ticket.

If you get a speeding ticket and you show up to fight it, chances are it may be thrown out just because you showed up. If your driving record is squeaky clean, you have even more of a chance of beating a speeding ticket.

Filing for an Extension

You can even beat a speeding ticket in some cases where you were completely in the wrong, just by filing for an extension on when you must make your court appearance. The more time you can put between when you got your ticket and when you must appear in court, the better.

Your Best Bet

Your best bet is to stay aware of your surroundings as you drive. The more aware of your surroundings, the better off you’ll be. Watch what other drivers are doing far ahead of you, and you may get clues about what to expect. Follow these tips, and you’ll save some of that hard-earned money for gas and fun road trips.

Photo: Motorcycle Police Officer at intersection – NHTSA

About Mark
Problem solver. Entrepreneur. Music nerd. Traveler. Twitter: @markheart0 Facebook: Mark Heart

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