15 Myths About Traffic Citations People Actually Still Believe (5 Golden Rules For Outsmarting Cops)

People believe the darndest things. Whether it’s old tales about letting one’s car warm up in winter or that premium gas is cleaner than lower-priced options, the automobile world is rife with fictitious ideas. When myths hang around for too long, they soon become embedded.

One area where myths get out of hand is traffic citations. People think that because a car looks a certain way, it’s at a disadvantage and that cops will target those cars first. Then there are drivers who think they’ve found the blueprint for getting out of tickets. Even those who get tickets have methods they think are sure-fire ways of getting it revoked.

As creative as these theories are, they’re just that—assumptions not based on personal experience or practice. These myths on how to avoid traffic tickets, or fight them in court, have become so strong and appealing to the public, they’ve managed to worm their way into widespread thinking.

At the end of the day though, these myths only reflect people’s hopes. Getting on the road plays out like a game for some drivers who are constantly on the lookout for cops. The last thing anyone wants is a ticket. These myths have long given people assurance that the system is working against them and that there’s a way out.

We wouldn’t just uncover those myths and leave you hanging though. In addition to busting myths, we’ve also added some golden tips on how to outsmart cops now that you don’t have the warm comfort these beliefs once provided. For further enlightening, be sure and check out law violations most drivers aren’t even aware of.

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20 Myth: Cops Will Tear Up The Ticket If You Follow Their Instructions

via New York Post

When a cop pulls drivers over, they might ask them to perform a number of actions. The first and most common thing they tend to ask for is the driver’s license and registration. From there, they may ask any series of questions. It’s important for drivers to comply with their requests, but they can’t think that by doing whatever they ask, they’ll get out of their ticket.

The site Flex Your Rights warns against doing whatever cops ask, even if they promise to tear up the ticket. Drivers might be better off fighting the ticket in court than playing along with the cops.

19 Myth: Blame It On Faulty Radars

via Autoevolution

People often spot cops monitoring drivers’ speeds off to the side of roads. They’re often huddled behind a building or tucked away in an obscure road alcove, watching cars from afar. They tend to use a radar gun to see how fast cars are actually going. Many who contest tickets blame the devices for being faulty and incorrectly reading their speed.

Lifehacker reports that this isn’t such a solid defense, however, as it’s difficult to prove, especially when a ticket is at stake. People are better off finding another defense that will get them out of paying a traffic ticket.

18 Myth: Only With The Help Of A Lawyer Can You Reverse A Ticket

via Richard Della Fera

This next point will come as good news to drivers, which is rare on this list. Fighting a ticket, or even repealing one, doesn’t even require a lawyer. The site Freeway Insurance reports that some attorneys say you need a lawyer, but that’s probably because they want more business.

People are free to bring a lawyer into the equation, but that’s going to cost extra. If someone wants to contest a ticket and save money without hiring a lawyer, the judge will certainly hear them out in court. This is a myth lawyers would like drivers to believe but isn’t true.

17 Myth: Driving Barefoot Is Against The Law

via Motor1

There’s an idea floating around that it’s illegal to drive around barefoot. Like wildfire, the myth caught on, leading many today to think that shoes or sandals are necessary in order to drive. They must have thought that people coming from the beach were getting ticketed right and left.

A Michigan State Police Sergeant sat down with Lifehacker and pulled back the curtain on this humorous fable. “That’s the textbook traffic myth that’s out there,” he said, even going so far as to wonder what the problem would be driving barefoot. The only thing we can think of is that it’s gross.

16 Ticket Prevention: Use Another Car For Guidance

via Forbes

There are tricks drivers can employ to avoid getting a ticket, but it requires setting someone else up as the “dummy" in case a cop is near. The first step to the method, as wikiHow details, is finding a driver that’s going the same speed as you. Once they’re identified, let them get a good distance in front of your car. If the driver ahead makes changes to their speed, then adjust accordingly.

The reason for this is they’ve probably spotted something ahead that's sitting outside of your visibility, like a cop around the corner. This method can work as long as drivers continue to obey all other traffic laws.

15 Myth: Cops Give Out More Tickets At The End Of The Month

via How Stuff Works

The idea of police officers having a ticket quota to meet every month comes up here and there. We’re not going to contest the legitimacy of that, but we will another concept: that cops give out more tickets towards the end of each month. This is so they can get in any last minute ticket citations to meet their quota by the end of the month.

According to Lifehacker, as one example, police in Tucson do have quotas, but its either low or negligible. Therefore, it’s unlikely cops are rushing around at the end of the month to keep their job. It’s just drivers creating an explanation.

14 Myth: Breaking The Speed Limit Is Legal When Passing Other Vehicles

Not everyone follows the laws concerning traffic lanes. Let’s say a highway has three lanes. The further to the left one drives, the faster the lanes go. Regardless of this established rule, slow people find a way to disrupt the flow of traffic by driving in one of the left lanes below the speed limit. This can irritate drivers, which likely explains this myth that makes an exception for speed limits.

Many think that if you pass another vehicle, you can go any speed you like. According to the site Freeway Insurance, this is not true, and cars must pass other vehicles while staying within the speed limit.

13 Myth: Officers Can’t Make An Error In Their Reports

via The Balance Careers

This is a myth drivers would love to believe in because it’d make their lives a whole lot easier. It goes like this: a policeman writes someone up for a ticket, but during the report, makes an error. It could be as simple as a typo, according to the site Freeway Insurance, or as major as a street name.

Either way, a mistake could call into question the cop’s report, thus opening the door for the law to drop the ticket. The same source notes that it’s a myth though, and even a typo won’t save drivers from having to pay up.

12 Ticket Prevention: Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Speed Cameras

via Sunday Times Driving

For those who speed and don’t want to get caught, there're a number of obvious things to look out for. Cops, traffic signs, and other cars are all ones that make the top of the list. Many often forget to consider speed cameras though. According to wikiHow, these devices can automatically snap photos of wrongdoers, which can result in a costly speeding ticket.

They suggest keeping an eye out for speed cameras on your regular route and checking online, which might lend insight into where the sneaky cameras reside. They can either stick out of the ground or hang affixed to street light poles.

11 Myth: Overpaying A Ticket Removes It From Your Record

via VideoBlocks

Give more money than the ticket asks for, and it just might go off one’s record. That’s the thinking behind this unusual idea. Back in the old days, it was more common for people to pay their traffic tickets by mail. Today, most people pay theirs online. It makes one wonder whether there’s even an option to pay extra.

Lifehacker even thinks drivers who attempt this gimmick will get refunded the difference. They don’t think it changes one’s record either way. People would like to believe this myth because it’s a way to avoid paying for higher insurance over time.

10 Myth: Red Cars Get Pulled Over The Most

via Roadsters Way

Many drivers think red cars are cop magnets. According to the site Freeway Insurance, there’s no proof that this is the case, however. Instead of settling on a logical correlation between the drivers and the cars, they blame it on the car’s paint job. If drivers notice this, it could have something to do with the more brash and speed-oriented owners who are more included to pick a red car.

Until they come out with an earth-shattering report on how red cars are the targets of cops everywhere, this will continue to be a myth, even if it appears sensible on the surface.

9 Myth: You Don’t Have To Pay Traffic Tickets Received In Other States

via Vox

Imagine going on vacation out of state, renting a car and getting a ticket. It’s the last thing someone wants to deal with or even think about on a trip. Only out of this level of distress could such a myth form. There’s an idea that if a driver gets ticketed in a state other than the one they reside in, they don’t have to pay it.

Lifehacker reports, however, that nearly all the states have united under the Non-Resident Violator Compact and Driver's License Compact. As a result, they share data that involves drivers' citations, so it could always come back to rear its ugly head.

8 Myth: Cops Can’t Give You A Ticket Unless You Sign It

via Newsday

When cops issue a traffic ticket, they read out the riot act. At the end of the procedure, they have drivers sign it. There’s a myth circulating that by refusing to sign the ticket, it makes the violation void. That’s not what the signature is for though.

The site Freeway Insurance reports that the dotted line merely serves to confirm the driver received the ticket. In refusing to sign the ticket, it could actually hurt the driver in the long run. It could come up in court should they decide to contest the violation and risks getting the case off to a bad start.

7 Ticket Prevention: Traffic and Navigation Apps

via iMore

Apps are your friend. With smartphones, it’s like carrying around a Swiss army knife around. While a phone can’t open a bottle of beer, it can help with a myriad of things, even in dodging cops. Best Life Online recommends an app called Speed Cameras & Traffic that will tell users where many cameras are that capture drivers' license plates.

As long as drivers have a mount for their phone and aren’t tempted to play with it during the drive, this is a handy tool that will help drivers stay ahead of the law. Other navigation apps even support user submitted feedback on where cops have been.

6 Myth: The Flow Of Traffic Determines The Speed Limit

via Vox

There’s a number of reasons one can explain away the ticket issued to them. When faced with a large fine—one they don’t want to pay—they’ll find creative ways to get out of it. As Lifehacker points out, when people drive at the same speed the traffic flows—even if it’s above the speed limit—they think it's acceptable.

They believe that as long as everyone else is going about the same speed, no one will get a ticket. The speed limit doesn’t work that way though, and it’s not going to fly with a court judge on the day a driver contests it.

5 Myth: Radar Detectors Prevent Tickets

via Crutchfield

There are devices drivers can buy if they want to—"in theory” —get a step ahead of the law. Radar detectors exist largely to ease drivers’ minds. It can alert them to radars used in the area, and thus, cops. The only problem is they aren’t the saving grace from cops many hold them as.

The site Freeway Insurance points out two obstacles facing drivers who use this device: it doesn't always work and some states ban them outright. It’s a wild west out on the road today, and something as simple as buying a device that sits on the dashboard won’t be enough to prevent tickets.

4 Ticket Prevention: Record Your Conversation With The Officer (And Check State Laws)

via My K104

We can’t endorse all the tips out there to avoid a ticket—especially this one—but will pass it along anyways. Richard Diamond with The Washington Times took some time to talk to Popular Mechanics, and he recommends recording cops. “If there is a contradiction between the recording and the officer’s written report, his credibility is shot," says Diamond.

It’s important to note that it’s illegal in some states to record the police, including Massachusetts and Illinois. To be perfectly clear, we don’t recommend doing this, but it’s a way to cover one’s butt and potentially get out of a speeding ticket.

3 Myth: Cops Won’t Write A Ticket As Long As There’s A Good Reason

via Business Insider

There’s a reason such a thing as “good cop, bad cop” exists. Some cops have a good side while they’re on the job, others a sour one. This doesn’t stop certain drivers, however, from conjuring up a rationalization for their traffic violation.

According to the site Freeway Insurance though, violations are black and white, making it nigh impossible to argue one's way out of a ticket. Anything is possible and cops are able to show grace in certain instances. At the end of the day though, it’s a myth to think that a well-crafted excuse will get one out of a potential ticket each and every time.

2 Myth: You Don’t Have To Pay A Thing If The Cop Is A No-Show

via AP News

When officers give drivers a ticket, they have a choice: they can pay the fine detailed in the citation or contest it. Doing the latter requires an appearance in court. Many aren’t willing to go to all that effort just for the possibility of getting it reduced or waived altogether. An age-old myth asserts that if the police officer who administered the ticket doesn’t show up at court, then it’s dropped altogether.

According to Lifehacker though, some states don’t require the officer present, such as Massachusetts. The wrongdoer still has to show up, appeal the ticket and show up to a second hearing, which is where the officer may or may not show up.

1 Ticket Prevention: Ask The Cop For A Slap On The Wrist

via Thought Catalog

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense—and we’re not talking about getting into an argument with the police. Instead, there’s a simple way to turn the tables on a police officer after they’ve pulled you over. As Reader’s Digest suggests, try asking them simply, “Would you consider giving me a warning?”

There’s no guarantee the question will get drivers out of a ticket, but this reverse tactic of folding one’s hand and positioning it this way might pay off. What's more, the same source notes that a warning could meet the necessary quota depending on the police department, making it a win-win on both ends.

Sources: Lifehacker, Freeway Insurance, Flex Your Rights, wikiHow, Reader's Digest, Popular Mechanics, Best Life Online

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