Journal: Has Your Car Helped You Get Out Of A Traffic Ticket?

Has Your Car Helped You Get Out Of A Traffic Ticket?

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March 23, 2015
43 comments

Photography by Kika Vigo-Behnia

In 2010, I had planned a “romantic” road trip with Kika up to Big Sur, San Francisco, and the Sonoma wine country. I put romantic in quotes because I also had an ulterior motive: to go to the Monterey car week. Back then, Kika was still my girlfriend and not yet my wife; we had not yet launched Petrolicious; and she would speak about cars in sentences such as “I like this red one,” or, “that green one is cute.” Today, she speaks about cars using language such as, “the Montreal has so many similar cues as the Miura, I bet it was also designed by Gandini.”

I was really itching to put some memorable miles on the Alfa Romeo 8C, so we packed its limited luggage space to the brim and set off on Wednesday of the car week, which, as an aside, is a great day to travel during that hectic week as the masses haven’t hit the road yet—meaning much less traffic on the way.

We took the coastal route, of course, and everyone knows that the section of 101 north of Santa Barbara is full of CHP looking for speeders. I behaved well and only drove at 10 mph over the limit. For the most part, that is. Driving the 8C at 70 on beautiful open highways with very little traffic is a test of one’s patience. You might as well be going 25—it feels that slow.

On the stretch of 101 where it winds uphill heading towards Buellton, I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I opened it up. After enjoying that windy hill climb, the highway straightened out, and I was rapidly catching up on traffic ahead.

It was then that I realized that the car in front was an undercover CHP officer in an unmarked Ford Interceptor. I won’t tell you how fast I was going, but I will tell you that I was able to break hard and slow to 90 mph before he clocked me.

I slowed down to the posted 65 MPH limit, and he slowed down even further to get behind me. Not wanting to create more trouble than I was already in, I pulled over before he even had a chance to turn on his lights and siren.

As we’re waiting for the officer to approach our car, Kika is laughing at me…I’m still not sure why. Perhaps not having ever driven, she doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation—this could get ugly.

Officer: “This is the first one of these that I’ve ever seen. What is it?”

Me: “It’s an Alfa Romeo 8C.”

Officer: “When did it come out?”

Me: “Oh, about two years ago.”

Officer: “Well, it’s very fast. I clocked you at 90, but you were going faster than that. You wouldn’t happen to be going to Monterey, would you?”

Me: “Why yes, officer. We are.”

Officer: “How would you like me to do you a favor?

Me, excited with anticipation: “Well I would certainly love that, officer.”

Officer: “I’ll let you go this time, but promise me you’ll drive up safely.”

Me: “Thank you very much, officer. I will!”

That was our lucky moment, and to this day I believe that the 8C had a lot to do with it. I’m sure if I had been driving my previous car, a BMW M Coupe, there would have not been any chit chat, and I would have received the ticket without any second thought on the officer’s part.

So, have any of your cars ever helped you get out of a ticket? Tell us how!

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tallmanRockdadJohn McAleaveyPaul BoulardBlazo Recent comment authors
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tallman
tallman

I was driving my Landrover Defender 110 TDI on a road trip from South Africa up north. When I got to Tanzania they must have just got a delivery of some radar equipment. I was stopped 3 times on the same day. First time the cop told me I was doing 103km/h (62 mph). I asked him what the limit was and he sheepishly said 60…. and waved me on. The second time I again asked the cop what the speed limit was – still 60mph. I asked what my speed was and he said 102mph… those of you that… Read more »

Rockdad
Rockdad

Hi Afshin! Lots of stories to tell but my favorite is when I was in my 1973 Dino GTS with chairs and flares and a custom paint job and I was tooling down the 55 freeway here in OC towards Newport Beach when suddenly I was passed on the right by a Lamborghini Espada and, well, we kinda started speeding up. lol We managed to get our speed up to around 130 and then the Lambo pulled off on the northbound 405 ramp, leaving me to deal with the sudden appearance of some police cars. Seven of them, to be… Read more »

John McAleavey
John McAleavey

I got my first ticket at 17, driving home to change for work (from high school). Through some series of unfortunate circumstances, I didn’t get out in time to beat the busses and was running late, so I sped home, and was clocked doing 69 in a 40. The thing I noticed, as a gear head and AP student was that the ticket said I had traveled 1/4 Mile in 1.29 seconds (which meant I averaged 696 mph). When I went in front of the magistrate I pointed out that either my $400 1994 Mazda Protege had been tuned out… Read more »

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Paul Boulard

I remember my mother being pulled over in her SAAB 900 aero because she crossed a red light in our small town. The fact is,she was wearing a pinkish dress and told the officer “Oh my! I’m going to get scolded by my husband”… She never was fined

Blazo
Blazo

I got clocked at 140 MPH, on a highway where the speed limit is 75 MPH.
The officer couldn’t believe a MINI Cooper S could go that fast. As it was a national holiday, he let me off, even informing me there aren’t other patrols for the next 100 miles. Happened in Macedonia, on the way to Greece.

James Hasler
James Hasler

This may as a surprise but I was caught speeding in the UK in my very first car. I was on an unrestricted dual carriageway where the limit is 70mph and I was caught doing 83 mph. However the car I was driving was a Citroën Dyane 6 . Its engine produced a massive tyre shredding 31bhp and had a theoretical top speed of 75mph. The horizontal speedometer topped out at 80 but the needle had long since left the dial (something I did not admit to the officer). The car looked very scruffy and probably could have been pulled… Read more »

Ian Bennett
Ian Bennett

I bought a Sierra Cosworth shortly after they first came out. I let my friends father-in -law have a drive , I sat in as passenger. He couldn’t believe how quick it was then I could see the blue lights flashing in the passenger door mirror! Must have been doing 80mph in a 30 zone !! Fair play to the policeman, after we explained we had just picked it up and didn’t realise the speed of the car he said how he liked Fast fords and sent us on our way…phew !

Joel Milhazes
Joel Milhazes

i know that it whould seem impossible but i manage to get away whiout any ticket wen i was speding and i cought a police check point at the time whit my offroader, i know its impossible but its true , the cop could fine me for wheels exaust and lights not behing regulated , not to mention speeding in town limit speed is 50km/h i was going 80km/h

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Chuck Goolsbee

I inherited my father’s 1965 E-type Jaguar in 2003. I drive it as it was designed and intended, and have taken a two-thousand mile trip in it at least once a year. As you would imagine it attracts a lot of attention, not all of it desired. I have been pulled over in the car more times than I can recall, but have *never* been ticketed. Sometimes I think the cops are pulling me over JUST to get a closer look at the car. I’m always happy to chat about it, telling the story of how my dad restored it… Read more »

Mark Buckland
Mark Buckland

Not long after I bought my Maserati 4200, I took it out for a blast on some quiet A roads near where I live. They’re perfect for driving fast on, wide, smooth and plenty of safe over taking places. On one over taking move I did I over took a line of 4 cars and slipped into a space behind another line of cars. It was only when I looked into my rear view mirror that I realised I’d just pulled in front of an unmarked police car. However rather than pull me over they grinned wildly and both gave… Read more »

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Sid
Sid

Yes. Cops like muscle cars.

MERCURIO MUZZUPAPPA
MERCURIO MUZZUPAPPA

It was about 7 or 8 years ago, when the speed limits were not a big problem here in Italy. Speed cameras were not a common sight, and we were drivin’ more happily than today. I have this 1969 Giulia 1300 TI, in stock condition, with 42k kilometers on the clock. It has one modification only: 2 two barrel Dell’Ortos carbs. I bought this car for summer use in the place where I was born, in southern Italy. I was drivin’ near a little town called Tropea, and I wasn’t caring a bit about the speed. Out of a turn,… Read more »

MERCURIO MUZZUPAPPA
MERCURIO MUZZUPAPPA

Here some pics of the Giulia.

Lee H
Lee H

When my girlfriend (now wife) and I moved out to California, we drove cross country with a 17′ U-Haul box truck towing her aging Toyota Tercel behind us. This was shortly after graduating from college so we started the trip from my childhood home in Florida. On the first day of the trip somewhere in the Florida panhandle, I got pulled over by a state highway patrol officer. I was doing close to 80mph in a 65mph zone on I-10. Officer: “Do you know how fast you were going, son?” Me: “I know the limit here is 65, sir, but… Read more »

Michael Yount
Michael Yount

I’m the proud owner of a 1982 Volvo 242 ‘Restomod’. It’s powered by a late model EFI Ford 5.0L V8 backed up by a Tremec 5 speed and a Ford 8.8″ rearend. The suspension and brakes have been altered to allow it to handle and stop as well as it accelerates. My personalized tag is RPVNWNKL — a nod to the ‘ultimate sleeper’. It’s even beige. Fact is, vast majority of people don’t even SEE it. A number of years ago, when we lived in Knoxville, TN, my wife and I attended a little hotrod cruise-in and then headed out… Read more »

Peter Inshaw
Peter Inshaw

Everyone, knock for me please, grazi! Ive been blessed with good cop karma. Especially Detectives. Word to the masses, if a detective pulls you over, youre goin to hell or god (in any form you choose to visualize him/her) has blessed you. I got blessed twice. Once is a Saab 9000 Turbo when I smoked all 4 tires braking on the freeway to ditch a rice rocket, another blasting out of gas station on BMW S1000RR, Clocked at 70 in a 35, albiet I slowed to 40 before even seeing the unmarked car stink eyeing me. Then there was power… Read more »

Brent D
Brent D

In June of 2012 I got pulled over in my then 2 weeks old Scion FR-S. Having relased on Memorial Day Weekend not long before, folks had only seen a handful if any. The cop clocked me doing 55mph in a 35 as I downshifted into my neighborhood.

I rolled down my window and he gave me the run down, asking me drive more safely in the future and then proceeded to ask me about 10 minutes of questions on the car and its twin Subaru BRZ. Still owe him for helping keep my insurance low!

Bradley Price
Bradley Price

I have never once encountered a cop here in the Northeast who showed the slightest inclination towards letting me off with a warning even for the most minor thing, no matter what car I drive. I think they have a strict mandate to ticket no matter what because the almighty dollar is so important to the townships. I once had a cop near West Point stop me for a rolling stop in my GTV6 and he asked me all sorts of questions about the car–then still wrote me up. Which was worse than had he said nothing at all. The… Read more »

Brandon Nesset
Brandon Nesset

I got stopped in my 76′ BMW 2002 and I had a headlight out I didn’t know about. Me and the officer got into a small conversation about the car and he just said “Get home before I can catch up to ya again, have a nice night.”

Laughed to myself the whole way back home.

Stephen H
Stephen H

If one is to be pulled over, I recommend 42 inch tall fiberglass cars. In my college town, there was a small cloverleaf interchange where you came over a bridge, made a blind, off-camber left, and zipped onto an S-curve entrance ramp. Or, if you messed up and went on the wrong side of the dividing curb, you went the wrong way onto the other ramp. Which is what I did, just as a patrol car went by in the other lane. He lit up and accelerated up the road to do a U-turn, while I exited out the entrance… Read more »

Rye Bread
Rye Bread

Ok this is not a story I am particularly proud of but one New years I had had a couple drinks (not enough to make me too stupid, but enough to blow a DUI and well, drive in my state…) and I was rushing somewhere with my buddy passanger to stop some unpleasantry at around 1 am in my Acura RSX. As I was proceeding down a road with a concrete divider in the middle to separate oncoming traffic, and well I was going quite the click, bare in mind that there was 3 cars on the road 1 going… Read more »

Zach Hellman
Zach Hellman

I used to work 5:30am shifts over the summer at a Country Club. Of course, one morning I sleep in and I’m starting up my ’89 BMW E30 at 5:29. I pull out of my neighborhood into a 35mph zone and quickly wind it up to 50…only to realize I had pulled into the street in front of a police cruiser. It was my first time ever being pulled over, and I was convinced I would get a ticket. However, the officer seemed surprised to find a teenager driving an old stick shift BMW. He asked a few questions about… Read more »

Steely
Steely

Unfortunately no!
This week I recieved a speeding notice in my Alfa GT junior, 36 in a 30 zone on a section of road that goes from 30mph to 60mph just up the road, I have elected to take the speed awareness course (£85 + 4 hours) rather m&s than £100 fine and 3 points on my driving license, no excuse for doing 36 in 30 zone I guess, but I was the only car on the road at the time, heading towards a nice tunnel in the 60mph zone, I needed to get some speed up 😉

Michael Banovsky
Michael Banovsky

A few years ago, I had a then brand-new Audi R8 4.2 FSI on test over the December holiday break, and drove it home to visit my parents. My dad and I went for a barbecue dinner one night to an even smaller town about 30 minutes away, and after our meal hopped back into the car and set off. Click, into first. Rrrrmmmmmmm… Rrmmmmmmmm… RRRRRRRRRRRRRMMMMMMMM…fffFFFFiiiiirrrrrst-click-secoooOOOOOOnd-click-thiiiiRRRrd… I accelerated through the first three gears…and slowed down to the speed limit, putting the car onto its cruise control leash. A minute later, I spotted a pair of headlights getting closer…and closer…and closer…… Read more »

Matthew Vermeer
Matthew Vermeer

Micheal congrats on the new job. Just realized you’re an Ontario boy.

If ever you are interested in day swapping the abrath for an FRS let me know. I’m in Niagara.

Mathiaas Fuhredher
Mathiaas Fuhredher

In 1993 a cop stopped me doing 80 km/h (50 mph) in a residential area (40 km/h limit, 25 mph). I was in my brand new bright red Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione II… I gave him my license, he glanced at it, looked at me and the car… Then he calmly said “It’s hard to drive her slow, huh?” He returned the license to me and said “Just be careful…” That was it… he just understood.

JsT Fartin
JsT Fartin

It was well after midnight and I was driving “rapidly” home from work in my ’66 Volvo 1800S (I was younger and an engineer in the tech industry so these were “normal” hours). There was hardly any traffic but for about 5 or 6 miles a car was tailgating me at a “polite” distance. I changed lanes multiple time to let the car by but it invariably moved into the lane I had moved to. Eventually he red-lighted and we pulled over. He said he was impressed that I had signaled at every lane change, that I should slow down… Read more »

Alessandro Borroni
Alessandro Borroni

I have a BMW station wagon, sort of an M5 touring replica with the license plate “JALOPNK”… was speeding along happily only to see the lights… officer walks up and asks “how long have you been part of the commentariat, whats your login?”… I was totally confused and he says “Jalopnik.com”… I was so shocked to see those words come from his mouth that I probably sat there agape for a few seconds. Then I uttered something like “I’ve been a long time fan of the site, and told him my screenname”… he smiled and goes, “I know who you… Read more »

Blake godbey
Blake godbey

My stories, One night in Florida where my father lives I was in his 1968 GT500 I was coming back from my friends house in Venice and on the way back his house in Sarasota, it is about an hour drive door to door. I’m cruising along doing the speed limit almost all the way home I didn’t realize that my tail light was out along with my head light so now I’m really a target at night to a cop. I’m on the home stretch at this point about 2 miles away from home so I pick up the… Read more »

Samir Shirazi
Samir Shirazi

I have been stopped and asked every now & then about my car. but no tickets fortunately. and they sometimes have let me go hence my name is rare in iran and is the same as a police hero in a German TV series, who is a very fast driver.

Max W
Max W

You are talking about Cobra 11 aren’t you? 🙂

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

Well, two stories: In 2010, I think, I was driving a BMW Z4 35i in Benidorm, Spain (it was a press trip to test the car). After getting lost and driving even faster to find the right way, I made a U turn where I shouldn’t and was stopped 50 metres ahead. The policeman asked me what I was trying to do, then asked me about the car, it’s engine and horsepower. After that he told me to go and be careful. A few months after that I was driving late at night from my hometown, Alcobaça, to the coastal… Read more »

Brad Pearson
Brad Pearson

Mine was just two weeks ago! I was leaving the Charlotte area at 2:30AM to make it to a track day at Road Atlanta that morning (3.5 hour drive.) The officer examined the slick tires on the roof of my ’69 510 with his flashlight, asking where I was headed in such a hurry. After checking my license, and a brief conversation about my car and the events of the day, he sent me on my way. It could have been a terrible start to what turned out to be a great day.

Francois Bozonnet
Francois Bozonnet

my experience is a bit different. In France, you have to spend a year in the army, it’s what we call the national service. during that year i choose to be part of the french “gendarmerie”, a kind of troop that monitors traffic and speed control. i was located in the west of France, in britany near Loheac, a famous place for car lovers. As i was already passionate by car and specially by italian car, it was a real pleasure to me to stop some beautifull red car….just to look at them and talk to the driver. but one… Read more »

John Cochran
John Cochran

Many years ago I was driving my bodydropped minitruck and an officer pulled me over, he seemed to be tripping down memory lane checking out the truck as he was a minitrucker from way back. That was the ONLY minitrucking police officer I ever ran into, most had zero patience for the thing,

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

A similar story but somewhat backwards. Driving very late one night on a highway outside Boston in a Porsche Cayman S, a Cayanne turbo pulled alongside and invited me to play. Now, I normally don’t go for these sort of thing but on that night I decided to take him on — it was late and the road was empty. We both put our foot down and soon, out of nowhere, a third car joined in the fun…until his red and blue lights came on. We both got chewed out and handed a $400 ticket each. And now for the… Read more »

John Cochran
John Cochran

Thats a lucky break! I had someone recently ask me the same question, I was able to say 10 months ago and about 14 years ago, and he also let me off with a warning.

Dan Glover
Dan Glover

My first car was a John Deere green 1978 Volvo 242DL. It got me out of speeding tickets by not being able to go fast enough to get a speeding ticket.

Eric
Eric

Sounds like the CHP officer did you a solid favor. Maybe you should remove his face and license plate number from the picture so he doesn’t get in trouble for helping you out.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman

don’t us traffic officers have the discretion to issue a ticket or not ?

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

Eric,
Truth be told, I only told half the story. The officer who pulled me over, as I mentioned in the article, was in an unmarked car. 20 minutes after he stopped me and let me go, I was cruising along at the posted speed limit, only to speed up ever so slightly to pass someone when ANOTHER CHP officer (pictured above) pulled me over for the second time. This one wasn’t as kind, but at least I wasn’t going as fast.

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani

Santa Barbara county police are the WORST. For the past two years on the way to Monterey I’ve gotten pulled over, and in all honesty, for just following the flow of traffic. The difference being was that I was driving a sports car. That being said, the 993 DID NOT save me from a ticket. So to the thesis of your article, yes, it would appear that a car can save you from a ticket, or perhaps mitigate it, but it depends on the car, its rarity…and most importantly the disposition of the officer. That being said, when I was… Read more »

Max W
Max W

Well I guess sports cars are alright too but it needs a certain age of the car so that people (cops) think you are a real [i]Connaisseur[/i] instead of being a douchebag with too much money.

My girlfriends 1984 Audi 80 always gets thumbs up from all kind of people while most people show me another finger if I’m driving a new high priced car from work. Wonder where that comes from 😀