Happy Saturday, folks!
I am one of those parents that load up the family van with the sports chairs and Gatorade, and head off to early morning soccer. It is Little Girl’s first year playing “real” soccer. She has a uniform and everything! My husband is helping to coach, so the three of us show up with our morning beverages of coffee (his), Gatorade (hers), and soda (MINE!), and then I set my chair on the sidelines with the other parents. This, by the way, is a delicate balance because not only do I teach at the school, but I am also one of the moms. Actually, I am that mom. The one who shows up with her hair in a pineapple flip, shorts, and a tee. I figure it is my weekend, so it’s ok to look like a regular mom and not a staff member, right?!
Soon enough I find a spot on the sidelines next to one of the dads whose son is in my class, and daughter on my Little’s team. He and his wife are great, and loads of fun! He is a state trooper so I figure if nothing else, I will get to hear some good work stories. And believe me, he never disappoints! (I am going to just refer to him as “Trooper Bob” here to protect his identity). Trooper Bob and I start chatting, and I ask him some basic job-related questions like how his work is going, if he covers one area or the whole state, etc. I figure I am just warming him up (he covers the whole state, in case you were wondering) and as we are chatting, I finally get up the nerve to ask the ‘bigger’ questions…like how he determines who to give a ticket to, and who he lets off. Below are his words of wisdom to us side-liners:
1. SLOW DOWN. There is a certain speed at which, once you hit it or go over, you are definitely getting a ticket. His threshold is about 14 mph and over. So slow down! Unless you have some sort of emergency, you may as well take out your checkbook. Full disclosure here: that number is different for each officer!
2. BE HONEST. They know the speed you are going. So when they ask you, it is not because they don’t know…it is kind of a test. How are YOU going to react as the one pulled over? Trooper Bob says he is more likely to go easy on someone who owns up to their crime of speeding. He then proceeded to tell me several stories, which had me in stitches laughing (content for another blog post, I’m sure)!
3. BE POLITE. Even if you think officers are the biggest jerks on the planet, FAKE IT! Use words like “sir”, unless it is woman. In that case, if you call her a “sir”, then get out your checkbook!
4. SAY YOU’RE SORRY. I know you are thinking what I was thinking, “SORRY? Are you kidding me?!” Yes. Say you’re sorry! Tell the officer you are sorry for speeding, and putting their life at risk on the highway. Say you’re sorry that the officer had to come out in the pouring rain. Apologize, because you should have been paying more attention. Some sort of ‘sorry’ acknowledges YOU know you were wrong, and genuinely care about the officer’s well-being. If you think the officer is a jerk, then call him that…as you are reaching for your checkbook!
5. PUT AWAY THAT PHONE. If you are pulled over for using your cellphone, then get out your checkbook! Trooper Bob says there is no excuse for using your cellphone while driving. He does not give warnings for this crime. This law has been in place in our state for 2 1/2 years, and is about complete safety and control of your vehicle. Hands-free means not even in your hand!!! I asked him if he had a body cam, and he said he does not. I then asked, “So what happens if the person fights the ticket in court?” Basically it is your word against his, and like Trooper Bob said (and I quote), “Yeah, but the judge is going to believe me.” I would have to side with Trooper Bob here. There is no excuse in this day and age to be using your phone while driving! Get out your checkbook. It is going to cost you!
6. AND THE OBVIOUS…If you are caught with any sort of illegal items in your car, such as an open can (if you are a minor) or any sort of drugs, get out your checkbook. There is no way out of it.
So as Trooper Bob is giving me this good advice, we were still good parents; cheering on our littles and enjoying the lovely day God set before us. OUR GIRLS WON!
In all seriousness folks, be careful out there. It is better to arrive late than dead. It is better to leave the message unread, than dead. It is better to err on the side of caution. Don’t try to prove you can out-run, out-pass, or out-drive that car behind you and wind up dead. Reckless driving is not big nor clever, you’re not only putting yourself at risk but others as well and that should be at the front of your mind when you get in the car. If you want to learn more about how reckless driving can have an impact, google what can happen in your state if you are caught, e.g. ‘learn more about reckless driving in Virginia‘ and clue yourself up on what can happen to you if you take that risk!
My mom used to say, “ At 65, you are driving. At 85, you are aiming!” Words of wisdom. Leave your phone in your purse or on the seat. Slow down and enjoy the view!
Anyone have a good story about how they got out of a ticket? (I’ll get the checkbook!)