Mistakes happen, right? But, sometimes those mistakes can be costly — especially when they’re made behind the wheel. That said, here are 13 driving mistakes that could get you pulled over by the police.
13. Ignoring Vehicle Repairs
It can be tempting to ignore that cracked windshield or broken taillight — especially when you may not have the money to get them fixed. But, doing so “can lead to extra costs, such as fines or ‘fix-it’ tickets, if these problems are not taken care of when they arise,” Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council, said in an article published on the council’s website. “In some jurisdictions, car owners may even lose their license for certain violations. A few dollars spent on simple vehicle repairs can help avoid trouble with the law.”
12. Driving a Friend’s Broken-Down Car
Speaking of repairs, did you know that if you get pulled over in someone else’s broken-down car, you will be held liable for any issues the vehicle has? Not only that, but you can even get a ticket for the car’s condition. And, unless your friend will volunteer to pay it off — as they should do — you will have to pay that ticket yourself. Unfortunately, “many laws about driving with bad equipment or stickers do not distinguish if the driver is not the owner,” Matt Pinsker, a traffic defense attorney and criminal justice professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, told Reader’s Digest.
11. Not Having a Bell on Your Bicycle
If you live in New Jersey and ride a bicycle, you could get stopped for not having a bell on your bike. That’s what happened to a Bayville man last year. According to NJ.com, the cops originally stopped him because he was doing something suspicious. The fact that he didn’t have a bell on his bicycle was the probable cause they needed to stop him and question him. Now, if you’re not doing anything suspicious, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t get stopped. But, what you should know is that this little-known law does exist, and officers often use little-known laws as a way to stop people and question them. So, it’s possible that it could happen to you. In fact, it happened to 856 people in 2017.
10. Driving in the Left Lane
Depending on where you live, it might actually be illegal to use the left lane if you’re not turning or passing another car. And, if you’re unaware that this law even exists, you just might find yourself getting pulled over by the police. You might also have to pay a hefty fine.
-There are eight states where it is illegal to drive in the left lane unless turning or passing someone. These states include Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
-You can be ticketed when driving in the left lane even when you’re obeying the posted speed limit.
9. Driving a Lifted Truck
We’re sure you pass by one of these vehicles at least once a day — sometimes more often depending on where you live. But, “many people in lifted trucks or SUVs may be susceptible to a ticket and not realize a violation,” Chris Goodnow of personal injury law firm GoodnowMcKay told Reader’s Digest. That’s because when a truck is lifted, the lights also need to be adjusted to point downward so they don’t blind oncoming drivers. And, while many states require this, very few people know about it.
8. Accidentally Driving on the Shoulder of the Road
If you live in New York, you could be pulled over for accidentally crossing over into the shoulder, Criminal defense attorney Derek Andrews of Nave Law Firm told Reader’s Digest. For example, you’ll be fined $200 plus a surcharge of $88 for driving on the shoulder in Nassau County. “New York vehicle and traffic laws require that drivers maneuver their vehicles entirely within a single lane… Police officers have been known to pull drivers over when their vehicles, even just a portion like a tire, crosses the fog line,” Andrews said.
7. Unintentionally Disobeying Unfamiliar Traffic Signs
Not all localities have the exact same laws. For example, certain parts of the country have rules pertaining to drivers and cyclists that you may not see elsewhere — like the “Yield to Bikes” signs in the Pacific Northwest. And, if you’re not from that area, you probably aren’t even looking for and/or yielding to cyclists. But, it doesn’t just stop there. If you’re a bit foggy on the basics of driving and traffic rules in general, even the signs you see everyday can be confusing. That being said, it may be a good idea to grab a driver’s manual and brush up on the traffic rules for not only where you live, but for any locality you plan on visiting.
6. Having Obscured License Plates
New Jersey residents can get pulled over if their license plate holder covers the words “New Jersey,” “Garden State,” or any other words for that matter. That’s because state laws prohibit motorists from putting any license plate holder on that obscures any markings on the plate. Consequently, nearly 120,000 summonses were issued in 2017 for obscured license plates. As a result, State Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, R-Monmouth, proposed a bill that would prevent cops from ticketing drivers with a dealers’ license plate holder on their car. So, why a dealers’ license plate holder? Because it most likely was not installed by the driver, and so he or she isn’t responsible for it obscuring the license plate.
5. Having Tinted Windows
We all know that having heavily tinted windows will definitely get you pulled over by the cops. But, what can be frustrating is that window tint laws vary from state to state. So, what may be perfectly legal where you live can get you pulled over, and possibly ticketed, somewhere else. What’s a driver to do in this situation? Well, you can do one of three things: 1) never leave your home state, 2) use a rental car if you do plan on going out of state, or 3) forgo getting your windows tinted altogether.
4. Bobbing and Weaving
While this may sound like more of a boxing move than a traffic violation, the fact of the matter is you can get pulled over for doing both. Lane bobbing is often associated with drunk driving, so if you’re guilty of bouncing back and forth in a lane, you can expect to get the attention of the police. On the other hand, lane weaving is often associated with aggressive driving — something else that’s sure to get the attention of law enforcement officers. That said, Reader’s Digest suggests not making a lane change “until you can see the closest vehicle’s full front grill in your rearview mirror. This means there’s adequate space between you and them for lane merges and any traffic changes.”
Anyone past a certain age knows that speeding will definitely get your pulled over. The problem comes when we don’t realize we’re speeding — whether it’s because we’re not paying attention to the speedometer or because we don’t notice a posted speed limit. But, it gets worse. The punishment for speeding in some places is more than just a ticket. For instance, Virginia law says that driving over 80 mph isn’t only cause to hand out a speeding ticket — it’s also considered a class 1 misdemeanor. That means you could spend up to a year in jail AND have a “non-expungable criminal record of a misdemeanor conviction,” Pinsker told Reader’s Digest.
2. Warming Up Your Car
If you live in an area where you experience winter in all of its fullness, then you understand the importance of giving your car time to warm up before driving it. Unfortunately, this little act that can extend the life of your car can also cause you to get a summons. According to a New Jersey state statute, letting your car sit while running for an excessive amount of time on the side of the road is prohibited. In 2016, law enforcement officers in New Jersey wrote about 276 tickets for this particular offense. Only four of the ticketed parties were found not guilty.
1. Not Loading Your Pickup Truck Properly
Don’t you just hate it when you’re behind a pickup truck with a ton of stuff loaded onto it, and that stuff looks like it’s about to fall off at any minute? Yep, we hate it too. And, so do the cops. That’s why if the police catch you, you’ll likely get pulled over and issued a ticket. After all, if that poorly secured load falls out, it can strike or endanger other vehicles, which can result in injury, and unfortunately, even death.
Your turn! What driving mistakes have you been pulled over for? Let us know in the comments section below.
Psst. By the way, if you happen to get pulled over for speeding, follow these tips to beat that speeding ticket.