Police Reveal 4 Common Ways to Get Pulled Over

Here’s what not to do if you want to avoid that next traffic ticket.

Common ways to get pulled over

We’ve all seen it — someone changing lanes without signaling. Or a person driving while texting. And, if we’re honest, maybe we’ve even been that person. Nobody’s perfect. But when you’re trying to avoid being pulled over (which most of us are), it helps to know more about those bad driving habits we’ve all been (admittedly) guilty of at some point.

Edmunds.com polled 3 police agencies to get an idea of the most common driving no-no’s that cops encounter.

So, in the ongoing interest of helping us all become model motorists, here’s what Johnny Law had to say:


(pulled over because you can’t drive 55 … in a 35 mph zone)

In the Edmunds survey, every cop surveyed listed stopping speeding drivers as a main priority. So why do police officers key in on speeders? Well, issuing speeding tickets has a huge impact on safety. For every 100 extra speeding citations given in a month, there are 14.3 fewer crashes and 5.6 fewer injuries.

Point is, if your need for speed gets the better of you, be prepared to put your money where your lead foot is — a whopping 34 million speeding tickets are handed out each year in the U.S.

Distracted driving

(pulled over because you’re texting, emailing, eating, and driving)

The police officers surveyed say their main reasons for giving distracted-driving tickets include illegal texting and driving or other dangerous cell phone use. And with good reason, too. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a stunning 40 percent of U.S. teens admit to having been in a car while the driver used a cell phone in an endangering way. We don’t know about you, but it seems this phenomenon can’t get enough police intervention.

Equipment violations

(pulled over because those windows are just a bit too dark)

Equipment offenses are easy bait for tickets because they’re so simple to spot. A police officer doesn’t have to make any judgments about the situation. Rather, he or she can simply see that something isn’t up to code and make a move. According to the cops surveyed, the most glaring violation (pun intended) was illegal window tints. Following that were burned-out lights, broken windshields, and expired license plate tags.

Tailgating and improper lane changes

(pulled over because you’re bound to cause an accident)

These 2 violations ranked as equally important on the Edmunds study. Both are reckless maneuvers that cops said they monitor closely. One police officer even qualified exactly what he thinks is considered a dangerous lane change: cutting someone off or moving without looking.

Using the left lane for cruising instead of passing, driving too slowly, and squealing your tires are also high on the list.

Use common sense

When reviewing these offenses, it’s not exactly a surprise that they attract attention. True, you can’t control what other people will do on the road. But you can control yourself. So next time you notice you’re about to fall into one of these habits, think about the repercussions. Safe driving is good for you and everyone else on the road.

Want to learn how these driving no-no’s can impact your car insurance? Check out our moving violations insight center. And if you do get pulled over by the police, remain calm and remember these 8 useful tips.

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287 Responses to “Police Reveal 4 Common Ways to Get Pulled Over”

  1. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    kit hudson
    May 17, 2015 #

    In the Lexington, KY area….even the cop cars are very guilty of speeding with NO lights …. AND …. not using turn signals. It's just ridiculous when cops won't even obey traffic laws.

    • Avatar for Alex Glenn
      September 25, 2015 #

      Typical…..do as I say; not as I do.

  2. The interstates are designed for higher speeds than are posted (anyone else remember the Jimmy Carter 55 mph years??). And before all the other cops on here start to bellyache- I was LE once upon a time myself. Much of what is done with traffic laws is about revenue but not all of it.

    • Avatar for Alex Glenn
      June 16, 2015 #

      And your point is what?

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        Scott Morgan
        June 21, 2015 #

        Richard Nixon (Republican) imposed the 55 mph speed limit in 1974.

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        June 23, 2015 #

        I don't think that was the point.

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        October 3, 2015 #

        Was it something about eggfarts?

    • Avatar for Alex Glenn
      June 26, 2015 #

      You are EXACTLY right ! Why do you think it's easier to beat a felony charge, than a misdemeanor like speeding ? Revenue Enhancement ! Why does a single police cruiser, with a single cop in it, have multiple radar & laser speed-detection devices in it, pointing out in several directions ? Revenue Enhancement ! Why are police cars ordered & built as some of the fastest & most high-performance cars on the highways ? Why are some police cruisers ordered & built as "unmarked "?
      Why do insurance companies donate so many thousands of their rate-payers' dollars to police departments earmarked for speed enforcement ? That's right … It's all about Revenue Enhancement ! The local jurisdictions rake it in from sometimes questionable tactics & methods surrounding speed-related enforcement, and thereby revenue enhancement. And of course, the insurance companies recover that donated money by jacking their customers' rates up after the issuance
      of such a revenue-enhancing speeding ticket! And then, the insurance companies, and the cops, wonder why, oh why, do the taxpayers lack complete trust & confidence in them?!?!

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        Semour Yogurt
        September 24, 2015 #

        Phil, where do you live? If what you are saying is true I want to come and work there. Have pen; will travel. For what it is worth government does not make money. As a matter of fact, in the past seven or so years, our POTUS has accumulated more debt than all others before him. Have you not noticed the 18 trillion in debt the US Government has accrued? Lastly, talk to your neighbors, if you have none then talk to people in the communities near you. Year after year most common concern for most is traffic calming and speed enforcement.

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        September 29, 2015 #

        @Seymour – Try living around Edina MN. The largest (per capita) police force in MN, best equipment… affluent neighborhood… the Police have (what we locals refer to as) "fundraisers" every weekend. Pick a different highway in their community and ticket everything in site! oh, the radio stations have callers give out warnings too.. There have been instances when the city would not offer police assistance to a neighboring city! Why, they need to protect their citizens (oh, that's code for "hand out tickets"). Police are revenue generators, I can go on-and-on about how they themselves break the law "in" uniform.. and "out" of uniform… they just "tin" each other when they get "detained"… Absolutely sad! and criminal..

    • Avatar for Alex Glenn
      September 25, 2015 #

      I agree…it's mostly about the money. If not, then why does about every police department have quotas for writing traffic tickets?

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        Richard The Lionhearted
        September 26, 2015 #

        Years ago a lot of departments had quotas but I understand most departments now allow the officers to write as many tickets as they want.

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        October 5, 2015 #

        There is no quotas, you are allowed to write all you want to

  3. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    May 28, 2015 #

    Professional commercial driver here: My trained opinion… FOLLOW THE LAW… it may not be your own neighborhood; however, it is someone's… Treat other drivers exactly as you want them to treat you, your spouse, your children or grandparents! Don't think your driving skills are better than others… They are not! I see the wrecks daily caused by embiciles who think they are superb drivers… The highway deaths are for all to see on the electronic billboards… Or the thousands of highway memorials to dead family members and friends! Drive safely! The life you save may well be your own or your loved ones!

    • Avatar for Alex Glenn
      August 9, 2015 #

      Amen… cnijack!! the simplest solution is always the best …

  4. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    June 20, 2015 #

    Or just because it's revenue enhancement!

  5. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    June 20, 2015 #

    Or because it's revenue enhancement!

    • Avatar for Alex Glenn
      Johnny Smithers
      July 13, 2015 #

      Sounds like you have donated quite a few dollars. Considering the cops don't see any return on this "revenue enhancement" I really don't see the validity in your statements. Cities actually lose money when people fight tickets because almost ALL of the money goes to the state. But believe what you think.

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        September 15, 2015 #

        I will, thank you. And, I will also believe what I know to be fact !
        First, why would any jurisdiction – city, county, or state – spend thousands of budget dollars on radar & laser speed measuring equipment and not recover the proceeds of that investment ? The answer is they wouldn't, and they don't. Budgets are tight and jurisdictions need and WANT that money !
        And just how in hell do you come up with this insane idea that cities lose money ? They have a court and an attorney on staff budgeted in. ANY ticket written in the confines of
        the city will result in THAT city getting YOUR money ! Not the county, not the state. THAT city !
        And then, simply compare the percent of convictions for speeding, versus the percent of convictions for felonies. I think you'll find it lopsided in favor of speeding. Why ? Again, it's all about money ! Felony convictions cost a government money–prison buildings/grounds, guards, medical, clothing, meals, etc. Plus, there is the expense of money and time of proving the felony occurred. Speeding convictions on the other hand, not so much. The cop is going to be on the job anyway, he is going to have a vehicle and other law-enforcement equipment already– this is just part of his daily routine. And, WHAT PROOF does a cop bring to court to back up that ticket he wrote you ? None. Nada. The same proof you have to prove your innocence — None. Nada. BUT, because cops are considered "friends-of-the-court", their word is worth twice yours!

        What if:
        1) The radar / laser is inaccurate ?
        2) The cop didn't read it correctly ?
        3) The device was clocking
        a different vehicle ?

        And finally, if speed enforcement has absolutely nothing to do with the local government's revenue enhancement, then, in lieu of monetary fines, let's start requiring violators to do community service-type work and / or restrict or suspend their driver's license for a period of time. These actions will serve the same effect of inconveniencing the violator, while removing the temptation of greed from government entities. I firmly believe that if revenue was removed or limited, the number of speeding tickets issued would fall back and become more in line with other moving-violation citations.
        And, incidentally, your statement that "cops don't see any return on this 'revenue enhancement' ", is totally absurd. While most cops don't "rake in" a commission per-tickets-written ( with the exception being "one-horse" towns where a minimum value of speeding ticket income is figured in the annual budget ) a cop, none-the-less, has certain performance measures expected of him, just like most employees. His performance review and corresponding pay raise / promotion will be based on how well he does his job, including the issuance of tickets.

      • Avatar for Alex Glenn
        September 24, 2015 #

        @Phil – you are 100% incorrect, sir. I have a neighbor who is the local police chief.
        Approximately 95% of the fees/fines/"revenue" collected from a locally-issued ticket does go to the state. The city/police dept. sees very little of this money.
        Please educate yourself before spouting off….smh

  6. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    Michael Peters
    June 22, 2015 #

    Speaking of billboards, all the excessive billboards on the highways constitute a major distraction. They are put there deliberately for drivers to read and therefore pull drivers' attention from the traffic in front of them. I guess safety is a clear second in priority when it comes to advertisers making money.

    • Avatar for Alex Glenn
      August 11, 2015 #

      You are so right! Talk about distracted driving. The worse ones are the ones with glaring LED lights flashing and rolling in your face and you cNt see the road.

  7. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    July 16, 2015 #

    the revenue enhancement part of law enforcement is morally ambiguous. I think it is picking low hanging fruit myself.

  8. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    Jim Ridgway
    August 10, 2015 #

    What irritates me is drivers cutting in front at the last second while slowing and approaching a light, then standing on the brakes —- especially when I am towing my 7 ton 5th wheel and can't stop quickly.

  9. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    Lawrence Morris
    August 12, 2015 #

    My comment deals with the HOV lanes. In TN they have them coming and going into and out of Nashville but law enforcement does not enforce them. My point is if you have laws on the books enforce them, if your not going to enforce them do away with them as nobody pays attention to the HOV lanes.

  10. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    August 23, 2015 #

    Texting, talking on phone, eating is not against the law in Texas.

    • Avatar for Alex Glenn
      keagan guth
      August 26, 2015 #

      It shoild be. Might even save a life or two.

  11. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    Barry Smith
    August 27, 2015 #

    Be an adult use your signal if you passed drivers ed it shouldnt be a problem .

  12. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    Ted Smith
    August 28, 2015 #


  13. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    Gerald Owen
    September 15, 2015 #

    If tailgates turn on hazard lights for short time,it generally works

  14. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    David Kemp
    September 17, 2015 #

    To brickland, texting is against the law in texas now, so is talking on the phone in school zones in many cities. Be careful, don't want you to have to buy your city new equipment. As for who gets the money, that is determined by what court you go to. district courts: the money goes to the state. municipal courts: city gets it.

  15. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    Gerald Scott
    September 19, 2015 #

    Another professional driver here. I drive a Peterbilt with a 53' trailer. And I drive at a top speed of 65 mph or less, even if the speed limit for trucks is higher. Part of the reason is to save fuel, but a big part of it is for safety. A fully loaded 18 wheeler has no business going 65 mph, and when you have a CDL and get a ticket, it is a much bigger deal than while driving a car. I have had many idiots tailgate me. Let them run into me. They will take all the damage and it will be their fault. If you are a wannabe NASCAR driver, stay in the left lane. There is no minimum speed limit in the right lane in most states.

  16. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    September 22, 2015 #

    I don't believe there are enough law enforcement officers out there protecting the few drivers who choose to follow the posted speed limits and rules. One example of complete lawlessness on the roads is Rt 22 that runs from Easton PA to I 78 in Lehigh Valley PA. It is literally a two lane death road, Indy 500 with no rules in which the posted speed limit is 55 but the average speed of most at any given time is 80 – 90 mph. Although I try to avoid I still have to travel the road often and have never once seen anyone pulled over. Tip: if you don't want a ticket try following the rules of the road!

  17. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    September 30, 2015 #

    I'm from NYS, and believe me there are quotas. When there was a fiscal crisis in Albany you should have seen how many cops were out! You'd have thought there was a terrorist invasion.
    My husband, who is 65 , never got any ticket in his life. In one weeks time he received 4. All Mickey mouse type. Tail light was out( always had gotten warnings ,cause who knows their tail light is out unless told so) . That was two tickets. In NYS there is a court surcharge. And it's not small .it was around 125.00bucks. The judge actually apologized to my husband because it made a little fine into a big one by adding the surcharge The judge believed it was unfair to tax payers.
    We fixed the tail lights then one of the front lights went out. Same thing happened ,multiple tickets for the same infraction. The whole thing is our mechanic was waiting for the right part, which for some reason , couldn't be found.we had explained that to the officer and he told us to take it up in court. The tickets were dismissed because the prosecutor thought it was simple justice to allow the dismissal.
    Local police stations were told that I order to keep there precincts open they would have to pay the bills. The state would not do it. That meant they would have to get income by any means necessary!
    After awhile and because of the stink the public made, the ticket quotas went down. Lots of tickets are still given out, but not like it was before.
    And, yeah, it's all about revenue enhancement!

  18. Avatar for Alex Glenn
    September 30, 2015 #

    Oh its money all right. Several towns in and around the capitol have a mile or two of interstate running through them but keep 5 speed cars out there. One city with only one exit and a stretch of interstate only 1/2 mile racks up hundreds of tickets a month.

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