Automobiles are the most common method of travel and many of us use them to jet from city to city. Hitting the gas on the open road can help shave minutes of any trip but get pulled over and you’ll lose time, money, and maybe your ability to drive.

Although it’s not encouraged, if you do decide to speed here are some ways to avoid the flashing lights and scruffy beards of police speed traps.

  • Use The Herd Mentality – Think of a nature show, which one of the grazing animals gets eaten by the lion? The odd one out that’s away from the group. The same logic applies when you’re on the road; slow down when there are no other cars around, you’re easy prey for a cop sitting by the road.
  • Watch The Taillights On The Horizon – The cars on the edge of your visual range (not the ones right in front of you) will tip you off to police, accidents, and construction. Be alert if you see a series of brake lights making their way toward you.

  • Do A Car Inspection Before Any Trip – Simply turn on your lights and walk around your car the day before you hit the road. Look for any taillights, brake lights, or signal bulbs that have burned out. These are easy for cops to spot from a distance and make you a target (especially if the officer has to pick from several speeders).
  • This will also reduce any fines you may get if you are pulled over.
  • Slow Down At Sharp Turns – Any parts of the road that you can’t see are great spots for speed traps.
  • Find Out Where The Speed Traps Are – Get online and print out the speed traps along your route on Njection or The Speed Trap Exchange or have alerts sent to your cell phone via Trapster.
  • Find Out Where The Cameras Are – While we’re at it, avoid getting a ticket by researching where there are red light/speed cameras at Photo Enforced.
  • Don’t Rely On Radar Detectors – According to CNN, radar detectors were replaced by laser guns about 10 years ago.
  • “They’re actually more efficient than radar. The laser guns can pinpoint a specific car much more accurately,” says Jack.

    The other advantage to using a laser gun is that the laser light can’t be detected by those pricey radar detectors often used by drivers who would really rather speed with impunity — or is that immunity?

  • One of the more sly methods that police officers use to detect hot-footing motorists is aerial detection. Typically, this is done by painting white lines at either end of a stretch of highway — usually a quarter-mile or half-mile long.

    A police officer in a helicopter or plane will time how long it takes the driver to travel the distance between the lines.

  • Notice The Truckers – Not their manly physiques, but the way they drive. Truckers often radio each other about speed traps and other road hazards they’re passed to their buddies behind them. If you see a group of truckers slowing down use it as a warning of possible police ahead.
  • A trucker friend of mine one told me, if you see a line of truckers on the highway, expect bad traffic or construction up ahead. This formation helps truckers avoid unnecessary lane changes in tight traffic.
  • Be Cautious In Warmer Weather – The nicer the weather, less rain, and so forth puts more cops out on the road (since people tend to speed more during the summer months). Reduce the odds of getting pulled over by driving carefully on especially nice days.
  • If You Do Fly By A Cop Car Don’t Hit The Brakes – So many people say this but don’t do it. Let up off the gas no matter how fast you are going. to avoid getting pulled over. Flying by 20 miles over the speed limit is better than going 10 over and slamming on the brakes.
  • Constantly Scan The Road, But Look Behind You As Well – Watch exit ramps as you pass them and scan your rear view mirror for signs of a squad car closing in on you: everyone else slowing down, moving over lanes, or one car that is driving much faster in relation to the others.

Of course this list is about avoidance and doesn’t cover how to handle getting out of a ticket if you do get pulled over. I’ll go over that later on in the week – remember to always drive safely even if you decide to speed. You won’t get very far if you’re dead or critically injured. If you’re going to rent a car in Europe, avoid these 7 common driving mistakes and be extra wary of speed cameras.

[photo by: heather]

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