In the last decade or two, I’ve been a fairly responsible driver. I don’t suffer from road rage (mostly), and I signal all my turns. I did get one speeding ticket a few years ago, while absentmindedly driving too fast through a school zone on a Saturday morning. I totally deserved it.
In my younger years, speeding tickets were pretty common place for me, which reflected on my insurance premiums.
I’ve also had my share of lucky breaks. A few times I was able to get tickets dismissed due to administration errors, such as no amount written on them, or the wrong date or location recorded.
When and if I’m ever pulled over, I don’t make a fuss about it. I know when I’ve been caught, and I pay for my indiscretions. In fact, one time just after buying a sporty new red car, I was going well over the speed limit, and passed a cruiser parked on a dark side road. I knew I was busted, so I just slowed down and waited on the shoulder for him to catch up.
I was lucky enough to get off with a warning that night, probably because I made it so easy for him.
Most of the time, not that I get pulled over a lot, my interactions with above mentioned law enforcement officers are fairly pleasant and straight-forward.
“Have you been drinking tonight, Sir?”
“Thank you. Have a nice evening.”
There was one instance however, where things went a little sideways over an alleged highway infraction. I probably should have handled this differently, but hey, in the middle of a situation, sometimes good judgement takes a back seat. No pun intended…
I was traveling along a major 2 lane highway one afternoon, heading towards home after a long day on the road. I came up to a slow bit of traffic that seemed to clog up suddenly. Cars were traveling at exactly the posted rate of speed, and no one was passing.
This could only mean one thing: police.
While waiting for things to thin out, I looked into my rear view mirror and saw several large trucks barreling down on our little swarm of anemic cars. Not a single driver was brave enough to pass the police car, which was in the right lane, traveling at exactly 100km/h (that’s about 62 miles per hour for my Imperial friends).
Realizing that this crowd of cars in an otherwise completely empty highway was ridiculous and dangerous, I took the lead, and crept forward.
Suddenly, bright red lights filled my mirrors as the police car pulled up against my rear bumper. Unbelievable! Well, at least I saved all the other drivers from the torture of following this guy for miles.
I pulled onto the shoulder, shut off the car and waited. This huge bear of a man stepped out of his cruiser and approached my car. He was a sergeant and had a swagger that would put John Wayne to shame.
“Good afternoon, Sir. In a hurry today?“, he sarcastically asked.
“No! If I was in a hurry…I would have been SPEEDING!”
I was as surprised by my response as I’m sure he was.
He went on about how I must have been speeding, since he was doing the speed limit and I passed him. My blood was boiling.
“Do you know how fast you were going, Sir?“. There’s that condescending tone again.
“Of course I know how fast I was going. I was passing a cop!”
“I have a policy of pulling over every car that passes me.” was his explanation. Really? I think I made some comment about how much fun he must be around back at the station.
By now, I didn’t care if I got a ticket. In fact, I begged him to give me one.
“I just saved this highway from a seriously dangerous situation that you were causing. If you want to give me a ticket for going 2 km/h over the limit on the busiest highway in North America, I can’t wait to take it to court and have you explain this to the judge“.
He replied; “I can tell by looking at you, that you’re a speeder. There’s a speed enforcement team just up the highway. If I wasn’t out here slowing you down, you would have been caught going way over the limit“.
“What? So, now you can tell the future? That’s remarkable!” was my slick reply. “Either give me a ticket, or let me go“.
In the end, he let me go with a warning – of what I’m still not sure. There was a suggestion to get my speedometer re calibrated in a weak attempt at a truce. I’m a bit surprised that he gave in at all. I was sure I would get dragged back to his cruiser in hand cuffs.
I don’t mind taking my lumps when I deserve them, and I don’t typically respond to authority in such an ill-mannered way. It was the stupid logic in pulling me over and tone of his voice when he spoke to me that really set me off.
Hopefully this will never happen again. I’m, pretty sure though, that on that day, about a dozen motorists saluted me as they drove past in honour of the great sacrifice I made for them.