On Saturday morning I was unknowingly driving rather quickly down the highway when I recognized a police car quickly approaching. I thought “oh, let me pull aside to let him pass,” but somehow this police car didn’t want to stop following me. Eventually I pulled onto the shoulder lane and stopped the car. Did this officer stop me to say that he really liked my car? Does he remember me from somewhere? Did he want driving tips?!
He approached my passenger side window and requested my drivers license, registration and proof of insurance. I calmly got my license from my wallet and then opened the car’s glove compartment to get my insurance and registration cards, but neither could be found. A few minutes passed by before I found my wrinkled insurance card, but the registration was still missing. A search through every nook and cranny revealed nothing and the cop began to grow impatient.
Now would be a good time to panic.
I wanted to assure the police officer that the missing registration card was not a sign that I’m driving a stolen car, but I realized that saying the words “stolen car” to a policeman is like saying “shoe bomb” on a plane–even if you have the purest intentions, you’re going DOWN! Instead, I stayed silent and continued my search everywhere in the car. The policeman realized that he had three options: 1) prematurely end my search, 2) continue to stand on the side of the highway and wait for me, or 3) arrest me for a code 19 violation. Thankfully the officer chose option 1 and he asked me if I knew what I’d done to get pulled over. I considered saying “I knew that you were waiting for me, so I got here as fast as I could” but somehow I didn’t think he’d find humor in that statement. Instead, our conversation went as follows:
Me: I know… I was driving a little fast back there when I was passing those cars.
Him: I clocked you gong 85 in a 50mph construction zone.
My brain did the mental math: Construction zone = double fines. 35mph over the speed limit = approx. 6 points and $300 fine. Total = $600 ticket, 6 points on my license and doubled rates on my insurance
Me: (with my bewildered face) Officer, I had no idea that I was driving that fast!
Him: I’ll be right back.
The longest 10 minutes of my life passed before the officer returned to me with a piece of paper that I hadn’t received in my life–it was a ticket. He said “I’m going to give you a break and instead I’ll give you a fine for ‘creating the risk of an accident.'” My inner negotiator made me want to try to negotiate a better punishment, but instead I said “thank you” and drove away as quickly as I [legally] could before he could remember that my registration card was a champion at hide-and-go-seek. Later in the day I checked the fine amount….$50!!!