Getting pulled over for speeding can happen to anyone. What you do in the next few minutes after a cop stops you can determine whether things get worse.
If you want to limit the damage — and possibly avoid paying too much for car insurance in the near future — don’t make these common mistakes if you’re tagged for speeding.
Arguing with the police officer
Yes, you’re angry and frustrated over being stopped. But that anger can backfire if you're not careful.
It's fine to plead your case. But arguing, getting loud, or acting rude isn't likely to be helpful.
A better approach is to keep a calm, even tone and remain polite. Holding your tongue is difficult, but it may help you avoid additional charges. The right tone might even encourage the officer to issue a warning instead of writing a ticket.
Saying too much
Don’t blurt out your life story when the officer reaches your window. For example, don’t admit that you were going 20 miles an hour over the speed limit or engaging in any other illegal activity, such as texting.
Instead, provide answers to questions you’re asked, supply your insurance and driver’s license information, and don’t say anything else.
Not contesting the ticket
If you get a speeding ticket, it may seem like the easy solution is to pay the fine and move on. But it might be wise to fight back if you think a mistake was made — like you know you weren't speeding.
Heading to court over a speeding ticket shows the judge that you’re serious about what’s occurred, which might help you get charges reduced or eliminated.
Not hiring an attorney
There are times when you should seek out an attorney after getting a ticket. For instance, any time you have a commercial driver's license or are at risk of losing your license.
Seeking legal help might also be wise if you’re facing charges beyond speeding, including instances where you’ve damaged property.
Assuming a speeding ticket is no big deal
Getting a speeding ticket can be a big deal. In particular, racking up multiple speeding tickets in a short period increases your risk of major consequences, including possibly losing your license.
Tickets can also be expensive. Not only do you have to pay the original ticket, but you’ll also be at risk of higher car insurance costs.
Treating a ticket seriously helps you resolve things in a manner that might result in you keeping more money in your wallet.
Believing your out-of-state-ticket doesn’t matter
It’s a mistake to assume you can speed without consequences simply because you're driving in another state.
Getting a ticket in a neighboring state can be as damaging as being pulled over at home. Always drive intelligently, regardless of where you happen to be.
Making sudden, strange movements
If you’re pulled over for speeding, remain in your car and follow the directions of the police officer. Don’t make the mistake of jumping out of the vehicle or diving into the passenger seat.
Cops have a tough job, and sudden movements can make you appear to be a threat. Don’t reach for your purse or open the glove box, even if you know your driver’s license and insurance are there.
Instead, calm the situation by waiting until the police officer tells you what to do.
Going to court on your own
You might be required to appear in court if the charges are serious. But don’t assume you have to do so alone.
If you're facing serious charges and are worried about the outcome, seek legal representation. You have the right to defend yourself, even for a simple speeding ticket.
Telling the officer that you’re important
Avoid making foolish statements. Don’t say things such as, “Do you know who I am?" or “I know your boss.”
Remain polite and don't demand extra special treatment, even if you are the mayor's child. Instead, be respectful and answer questions, allowing the officer to navigate this process without complications.
Getting a speeding ticket isn’t a good thing, and it’s likely to cost you. Yet, it’s important to do what you can to minimize any negative outcome.
Try to avoid the mistakes on this list. Doing so can help you lower financial stress and other negative impacts of a speeding ticket.