I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while, but I wanted to have some concrete proof that the technique is what has been getting the results, not just my boyish good looks and my “give me a citation and I might hunt down your family” demeanor.
Yesterday was that day.
I’ve been stopped a number of times in the past few years after reading this advice elsewhere, have applied it every time, and have only once actually gotten the ticket I should have gotten. Offenses are mostly speeding related, but I once blew through a stop sign in my unregistered RV with a cop behind me. No ticket for that one.
Yesterday Annie and I were driving through Boston. I don’t normally speed, but it’s hard not to in the BMW that I was borrowing. It’s a fast car and the speed really creeps up on you.
I see a cop ahead of me on the side of the road and I hit the brakes. Too late, he obviously has me. I have no idea what the speed limit is or what speed I was going. He follows me for a hundred feet and puts on his lights.
Protip #1: Pull WAY over. I pulled onto a side street and had the right two wheels off the road. Cops have to come on the left side and the further right you park the safer they are. They appreciate that.
Protip #2: Turn off the radio, put the front interior lights on, roll down the window before they get there, and put your hands on the steering wheel. Cops have to deal with tons of shady people and they know that one in a thousand is going to try to do something stupid. If you make sure he can see your hands and is comfortable, then he knows you’re not one of those people.
He walks up and asks me if I know how fast I was going.
“No sir, I don’t.”
Protip #3: Be overly respectful. I think it’s probably fair to say that a lot of cops became cops to get a certain amount of respect. Most probably don’t get that respect because people are resentful of being pulled over. Be the exception.
Protip #4: NEVER tell them how fast you were going, even if you’re lying. It can’t ever help you, and they’ve heard it all. If you admit to being guilty then it’s a pretty easy decision to give you a ticket. If you try to say you weren’t speeding, he knows you’re lying.
“I clocked you going 42 in a 25.”
“License and registration please.”
“Yes, sir. My license is in my pocket.”
Protip #5: Always tell them where you’re reaching before you do it. Sudden movements could be interpreted as moves for a weapon.
“Go ahead and get it.”
I get my license out, tell him that the registration is in the glove compartment, and I go and get it.
He sees my Texas ID and asks what I’m doing in Boston. I tell him I’m visiting a friend and add that I used to live in Andover nearby.
Protip #6: If (and only if) it won’t come off forced or annoying, try to have a bit of a normal conversation with him. If he sees you as a real person he may be more inclined to be sympathetic. Don’t go overboard here, though.
“How’s Boston treating you so far?”
“Great. It’s a nice time of year to be up here.”
He goes back to his car and starts running my license. I keep my hands on the wheel the whole time. Annie and I start speculating whether or not he’s going to let me off. He seems friendly and I’ve done all the right things, but then again 17 over is a lot, especially in a 25.
Finally he comes back.
“I appreciate you keeping your hands on the wheel and letting me know what you’re going to do before you do it. These things don’t go unnoticed. I’m going to just let you go without any sort of citation, but please slow down.”
“Thank you, sir. I really appreciate it.”
That was the first time an officer had ever explicitly told me that he was cutting me a break because I did those things. Besides making the officer as comfortable as possible, these are also the tips that police tell their family. If you’re doing them, the officer may assume that you’re related to another officer and want to cut you a break for that.
Also, Annie suggests that I tell you that doing this will impress girls.