So, you're not Cheech or Chong, but you aren't exactly Ned Flanders either. And while you are waiting to be "discovered" by a Hollywood talent agent, Cops, America's Most Wanted and TV's Deadliest Frantic Car Chases aren't top choices for your acting debut. Even if you're a law-abiding, cop-loving, establishment-respecting Pollyanna, chances are that you have (or will at one point) get pulled over for some sort of traffic violation. And if you aren't ready to fork over your weekly allowance toward Ramen Noodles and beer to pay a traffic fine, you'd probably like to know how to avoid getting a ticket in the first place. Excellent. We'd like to tell you how. (This SYW tells you how to avoid getting a ticket, not how to fight a ticket you've already been tagged with. That's another SYW we're still working on.)

Now, don't think we're giving you the shiny 100% guarantee that you'll never get a ticket again. Not even close, bub. What we're doing is just givin' you a few pointers to improve your odds of avoiding a ticket. But face it, if you're going 75 in a school zone, you could have memorized our bloody article and it wouldn't help you a lick. The only surefire way to avoid a ticket is not to speed.

FYI, the PD and other acronyms…

There are two major types of traffic tickets – tickets for moving violations and tickets for non-moving violations. Moving violations include speeding, failure to obey traffic signs or lights, illegal turns, or doing anything else illegal while your Pinto is in motion. Non-moving violations are for offenses like parking your car illegally. We really can't help you if you don't know how to park.

Every year, over 34 million people receive a traffic ticket from a police officer (or possibly, a weirdo dressed up like a police officer). And while most of us are willing to admit that there are a few people out there who actually deserve them (tickets, that is… not weirdoes), the pervasiveness of ticketing seems questionable, especially in light of recent research that proves that financial sanctions rarely deter motorist behavior. Well, while it seems that millions of Americans are disregarding road signs, the government is still obeying the dollar sign. Most traffic tickets charge fines averaging around $150.00. 34 million tickets at $150.00 equals profits of over $5 billion. Add to that number insurance costs, attorney fees, and other associated charges, and it looks like we've bought into a pretty effective "driving tax." The money collected from traffic tickets supports much of our civil service industry, including police officers, accountants, court secretaries, bailiffs, judges, district attorneys, insurance companies, and attorneys. If we didn't get caught, lots of people wouldn't get paid.

One last note: to cover our collective asses, we don't intend to encourage dangerous driving practices. Like we said, if you really don't want a ticket, don't do the things that get you ticketed. And we are NOT going to tell you how to get out of a DUI. If you drive drunk, you deserve what you get, creep.


The first rule of not getting a traffic ticket is not putting yourself into the position of looking like you should get one. And since most of us occasionally bend the actual rules of the road, let's take a look at some of the unwritten rules, including your car's color, modifications, condition, cleanliness, and stickers.
  1. Color
  2. Modifications
  3. Condition
  4. Cleanliness
  5. Stickers


The best way to avoid a traffic ticket is to make sure that nothing about your car draws an officer's attention. Even though we think Morticia and/or Gomez are hot, most of us have not chosen a hearse as our top choice for a vehicle. But hearse-like qualities are what you need to look for. Flashy and bright colors, particularly red, draw a person's attention, namely a cop's attention. Light, pastel colors have a tendency to blend with the environment and dark colors like black and navy not only blend in, they look serious. So, if you have chosen a brightly colored vehicle, know that your chances of getting pulled are a bit higher than the speed-demon in the black car zooming past you. Thus, be more wary about that "rule-bending" if your car is red.


Any additional sound or light modifications can also draw a cop's attention. The neon running lights, thumping bass, straightened exhaust pipes, and glass packs might make you look cooler in Podunk, USA, but they also mean that with your cool points, you get points on your license (the more points you get on your license, the closer you are to losing your license, possibly permanently). Additionally, cops seem to hate tinted windows. If you don't have tinted windows, don't get them. If you do, make sure you immediately roll all of your windows down the minute you get pulled over. This allows the cop better vision into your car giving her/him more confidence about the situation. When the cop is relaxed, your chances of avoiding the ticket are better. (Maybe you should consider playing Enya music when you get pulled over…)


This is simple. Cars, like clothes, make can make a good or bad impression. Pretend that your car is on its way to an interview. If you want your car to get the job, you'll clean it up and maybe even give it a fresh coat of wax. A possible explanation is that people who take care of their cars look like they're responsible drivers. But a dented car is one that has gotten into accidents before, thus catching a cop's eye rather easily and making him/her prone to fine you. If your car has rust spots or dents, get those taken care of before you hit the road.


The cleanliness of your car also makes a definite impression with the cop who pulls you over. Again, assumptions are made about your personality based on your car. Make sure the exterior of your car is clean, but also focus on the interior. Don't hang anything on your rear view mirror. Especially dice. (That's really just for us.) Clean out the inside of your car from clutter. Make sure that your glove box is fairly clean so that you don't have to search for your registration. And above all, clean out your ashtrays. They almost always draw a cop's attention and they start looking for things other than cigarette butts (yeah, Cheech, you know what I'm talking about).


Even if you're taking a long, strange trip, the stickers on the back of your car can pose potential problems. There are two kinds of stickers that you should try to avoid. The first kind include those stickers that are anti-cop or pro-violence such as "Bad Cop…No Donut," "DARE to keep cops away from donuts" and "This Car Is Insured by Smith & Wesson." The second kind are those that support bands that may provoke a cop to make assumptions. While this is grossly grossly grossly unfair, Grateful Dead and Phish stickers catch a cop's eye and usually lead them to make assumptions about drug use. If you choose to leave these stickers on your car, just know that you might have to fight the assumptions they produce.