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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ticket Etiquette

If you ever delay your speed reduction while entering a pop-out-of-nowhere town in Northern Wisconsin on your way home from vacation, then you may need to know a little ticket etiquette, especially if your nine-year-old daughter happens to be in the back seat.

When you notice the reduced speed limit sign, simultaneously with the black and white squad car, you should slowly / quickly reduce your speed to that approximate level, while acting very nonchalantly and praying you're not the reason said squad car is currently pulling into your lane, three vehicles behind.

As the cars in your rearview mirror pull over and said squad car's lights begin to flash, you will pull to the side of the road away from any intersections, but smack dab in the center of as much attention as possible, still with the glimmer of hope that it's the 92 minivan ahead of you he's after. When you realize the officer has stopped directly behind yours, you must explain to your daughter that you will be receiving a traffic ticket. When daughter asks why that would be happening, you explain that this happens to people who speed in front of squad cars.

When the officer finishes your background check and verifies that your decade of clean driving is not a mask for Jack-the-Ripper, he'll approach your driver's window and ask if you know why you've been stopped. You'll say, "Yes" and you won't mention anything about the slowerthanmolassesinSiberia pickup that's now passing your parked car, still at the 30 mph speed it had on the highway 2 miles back, when you passed it.

When the officer explains he must cite you for speeding, you get a really pained expression as you realize all prayers are not answered. Then you thank the officer for choosing to fine you the $160 municipal ticket, as it doesn't appear on your driving record. You ask if he takes VISA or Mastercard, since it would be ridiculous to drive eight hours round-trip to contest a citation for which you are entirely guilty.

Finally, as you drive away with pink ticket and pinker face, you resume singing the second chorus of Mississippi Girl, after calmly explaining to your daughter that if you do the crime, you pay the fine.

Just in case you ever need to know. Hypothetically

If you have other rules of etiquette, please share!

Submitted to September 18th edition of Carnival of Family Life.


  • I grew up in WI. I know those towns and probably some of the cops. Yes, I've had the tickets, too. Sigh...

    By Blogger Chaotic Mom, At 9:57 AM  

  • About a month ago I got pulled over for doing 37 in a 25 zone. After the policewoman saw Baby Bug in the car, she said she wouldn't give me a ticket if I used the money to buy BB a new Barney doll. Huh? I'm not complaining!

    By Anonymous Kailani, At 5:08 PM  

  • I sure don't envy you. At least you taught your daughter a good lesson in how to treat an officer with courtesy and respect and how to take responsibility for what you did--plus that there are consequences for our actions.

    By Blogger Tonya, At 6:37 PM  

  • Sounds like you know exactly what to do if this hypothetical situation should ever happen to you.

    By Blogger Barbara, At 8:51 PM  

  • Ouch.

    By Blogger Pamela, At 9:06 PM  

  • Hypothetically speaking of course, this mama would be bawling her eyes out while trying to explain to the nice police officer that all three kids been sick all night, and sleep deprivation made her do it.

    By Blogger Waya, At 9:38 PM  

  • I'm sure it was embarrassing for you, Kelly but it made for a laugh-out-loud story. My last traffic fine was for "sliding" through a stop sign - failing to come to a dead stop. My reason? I'd just picked up two bags of fertilizer and was hurrying home to escape the smell. I didn't share that with the policeperson, either.

    By Blogger Susan Stephenson, At 1:02 AM  

  • Oh, my, this reminded me of two things: 1) When my daughter was two and HAD to use the bathroom (we were in the middle of a two hour drive), and she was screeching "I NEED TO GO POTTY!", and we all know that means SHE NEEDED TO GO! I was almost to our destination, so, yes, I was accelerating to get there faster.

    Sadly, it ended up taking much longer. The officer had no mercy as he got the required info from me...and watched my daughter cop a squat on the side of the road :/.

    I think we had to plunk down only $100...

    2) My husband received a ticket after 11:00 p.m. while we were on vacation, traveling on a DESERTED road. We passed no other cars on this 5-mile cut through...only the officer who had been waiting on "us". Although we were EXASPERATED at receiving the fine, we had to suck it up...and explain to the children, "The officer was only doing his job...we WERE speeding..." (inside, of course, both of us were exploding).

    Oh...r i g h t...all that was hypothetical;).

    By Blogger Robin, At 11:02 AM  

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