With summer road-trip season well underway, there’s one souvenir that you’ll want to avoid picking up during your travels: a speeding ticket.
Every year, some 34 million Americans are slapped with speeding tickets, according to the National Motorists Association — many of them during the peak months of summer travel. While some may view a speeding ticket as just a hassle, it can actually lead to some costly consequences, such as higher insurance rates and points on your driving record.
So what are some of the most effective strategies to avoid speeding tickets? Here are seven tips from FindLaw to keep in mind:
- Keep your eyes peeled for signs. Failing to notice a posted speed limit is the No. 1 excuse for speeding drivers, according to a recent survey by Insurance.com. Even just 5 mph over the limit can get you in trouble, especially in school and construction zones.
- Stay away from your cell phone. Distracted driving should always be avoided, even if cell phone use or texting while driving isn’t against the law in the state you’re visiting. Driving while on a cell phone significantly increases your odds of driving away with a ticket, rather than a warning, and it may even lead to higher fines.
- Watch out for speed traps and cameras. Remember, speed limits usually drop when you approach a small town or city. And while the use of speed cameras may be declining, they’re still being used in many states.
- Don’t draw attention to yourself. Reckless and aggressive driving tactics like swerving or racing are more likely to get you pulled over by police.
- Stay out of the passing lane. Drivers who continue to pass other cars while in the left lane are easy targets for law-enforcement officers. Keep in mind that in some states, the left lane is only for passing.
- Be cooperative and courteous with the officer. Being respectful can go a long way toward avoiding a ticket. If you are pulled over, here’s what to do: Turn off your car, place your keys on the dashboard, and place your hands on the wheel in the 10 and 2 o’clock positions to signal to the officer that you aren’t doing anything illicit. You may also want to take off your sunglasses or turn on your car’s interior lights if it’s dark outside.
- Don’t argue — until you get to court. It’s best not to argue with a police officer at the scene. Any arguments you have to make against your speeding ticket can be addressed by you or your traffic ticket attorney later on in court.
To learn more about speeding tickets and other types of traffic violations you may encounter this summer, check out FindLaw’s comprehensive section on Traffic Laws.
— Michelle Croteau, Director, Marketing Communications,
with Andrew Chow, FindLaw Audience Team