Take out the registration. Take out the license. Roll down the window. Slink down in the seat as the officer saunters up to my window and hope no one I know is driving past.
What I say: "I am so sorry, Officer. Of course you're absolutely right. I so focused on getting out of that parking lot that I wasn't paying attention to that light, and I so hate it when people do that and they do it all the time at this corner. I live right around the corner, so no excuses."
He lowers his book. I can see it's working. I get off without even a warning. Phew.
The next time I get pulled over it's for running (I slowed down) for a stop sign. A stop sign that NO ONE stops for. What I say: "I'm sorry, Officer, you're absolutely right. I ran that stop sign. I was rushing to the train station to drop off my daughter and we were running late and I just blew it."
"Train station?" he says, eyeing my daughter who is in the car with me. "Where's the suitcase?"
I pop the trunk. Daughter runs around to the back to show him her roller bag and backpack. We really were on the way to the train. He lets us go.
My formula: Always admit you did it even if you didn't. Apologize. Do NOT lie. And it helps to have an adorable daughter in the car with you.
Do you talk your way out of tickets? What's your formula??
JAN BROGAN: Hmmmm.... in how short a span of time did these two events occur, lead foot?
I actually haven't been pulled over for a ticket, in like, a couple of decades. But the last time, I did, I was coming home from my first day back to work, post-baby, and got caught racing down the exit to pick her up from daycare.
I could not talk myself out of the ticket (Radar gun),with the cop, but it meant something like a $100 ticket and loss of a $300 good driving credit. I went to court to fight it. The cop didn't show up and the magistrate was a woman. I told my story about day care and won!
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Hallie, you have TWO adorable daughters. May I borrow one?
My ticket stories - okay, I must have going a little fast - not terribly - but I was on an empty highway and it was accidental AND IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY. Got the ticket anyway.
Second time? I get pulled over for running a red light. Cop asks where are you going? I think - why, do you want to come? Not wanting to sound flirtatious or entitled (I was actually leaving for Italy) I say the post office. Nothing is less-sexy, less privileged-Connecticut-lady than a trip to the post office. He whips out his pad and starts to write the ticket.
What?? Hands me the ticket and says, you need to get that fixed...he's pointing at my tire which has a bunch of metal hanging out of it (radial exploded?) If I'd said I was heading for the repair shop he would have let me go. Or so he said.
I've never been able to talk myself out of a ticket. You're my idol.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Two things. I did get pulled over once for making a kind of illegal left turn. Across several lanes of traffic. But my friend and I had to get on to the highway, and that was the only way to do it. When the police officer came to the window, Laura and I--without having discussed it!--both just started babbling about --oh, gosh it said "no left turn"? We thought it said left turn only..and on and on with the ditziest performance you've ever seen. No ticket. The guy probably wanted us to stop talking.
But I did do a TV story about this once.. and according to the experts we interviewed, the best way to get out of a ticket--would you do this?--is to cry.
HALLIE: Cry? CRY? Who, me???
I wonder if it makes a difference if the cop's a guy.
RHYS BOWEN: A couple of years ago I was driving to Phoenix after Christmas. There are never cops on I5. And the visibility is always excellent so I don't know how I didn't seen the cop until red lights appeared in my rear view. I wound down the window. "Ma'am, do you know how fast you were going?" he asks.
"I thought I was just keeping up with the rest of the traffic," I say.
"Almost 90," he says.
"Oh my goodness. I am so sorry," I say. "I am usually SOOO careful." Then I hold up my recently broken wrist to him. "I'm driving all the way to Phoenix and this think hurts like the devil," I say.
He hands me back my license. "Be more careful next time," he says.
I beam at him. "I will, I promise," I say.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: You bad girls! I haven't had a ticket in decades. Just shows you I'm either very dull or very lucky...
I did get pulled over a few years ago, driving around the grounds of a federal facility (long story), lost, and not paying attention to the speed limit signs. I think I was going 30 in a 20. (Told you I was dull.) I batted my eyelashes at the cop and told him my husband was a police officer (which was still true at the time) and he would KILL me if I got a ticket. The cop let me off.
HALLIE: Sounds like we need to add to the formula: Bat eyelashes. Break wrist.
LUCY BURDETTE: You are bad girls! and lucky too:). I'm a pretty cautious driver. (See Hallie's previous post about driving:). But I was with my husband a couple of years ago and we came to a complete standstill on I-95. And our exit was the next one, a half-mile down the road. He could not resist the breakdown lane. (We don't, as in BOSTON area, condone driving in breakdown lane--sheesh.) Cop pulls him over.
"Why were you driving here?"
I see John's eyes darting as he searches for the right answer. "My exit is right up there."
"Wrong answer," bellows the cop and whips out the ticket book. "Only right answer is the cars wouldn't let you in."
I hate that, that they are trying to trick you into saying the wrong thing.
HALLIE: Oooh, I'm going to remember that. "They wouldn't let me in."
So now's your chance to share your secrets -- do you talk your way out of tickets? One thing I know better than to do is drive a red car.