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The Second… errr… Third Chance

July 1st, 2009 · No Comments · Personal

I have a fast car. This is a problem because I’m still not entirely mellow when it comes to driving. I’ve gotten out of the phase where I like to cut in and out of traffic – nowadays I hold my lane and pass appropriately – and I also don’t speed for the sake of speeding – I can live going 65 if that’s what traffic is doing – but there are still times where I just like to mash my foot to the floor when it’s late at night and I have an open highway before me. It’s enticing. It’s a thrill to feel the car take off as it leaps forward. The noise of the engine growl kicks into another gear. The acceleration does not let up as each new gear compresses me further back into my bucket seat.

Unfortunately tonight was the last run. I was driving home from Denny’s and, as usual, when my friends got off the exit to Rt. 9 I stayed on Rt. 18 and whizzed by them hella fast in salute, honking goodbye and flashing my hazards. Now I know cops like to sit on the median just past the exit, because coming the other direction the speed limit drops from 65 to 55 and they can hide behind a stand of small trees, looking both ways. Usually I don’t take off until I get close enough to that spot to see if any are sitting there, but I had gotten blocked out by a large truck and a car, so by the time the car turned off and I could catch my friends, they were just entering the onramp. Well I can’t let them go without my victory salute! Seeing the highway before me was clear (but neglecting to check the median) I shifted to 3rd and gunned it, catching them as they slowed to turn off. *Honk! Honk!* *Flash! Flash!* and I was gone, zooming on past and coasting back down to the speed limit.

That’s when I remembered – oh crap shit fuck there could be a cop sitting back there. I look up in my mirror and sure enough I see headlights turning onto the road just as I dip below a rise out of sight. Immediately something in my brain goes “RUN! RUN!! You can do it! He’ll never catch you the next exit is only a mile away and you can sprint there in less than a minute! GOGOGOGOGO!!!”

Thankfully I did not listen to this part of my brain.

Going the speed limit now, the cop catches me just as I exit the highway, which would be a valid option for me if I wanted to not take Rt. 18 home. He pulls me over a ways down the offramp (which actually turns into a side street) and I park on the side of the road, switch on my dome lights and grab my papers out of my wallet. The cop walks up and sees that I have all my documents ready. He says nothing as I look up and hand them over. He gives them a scan and hands me back my insurance card before speaking.

“You know that I clocked you going 111mph?”

My brain did a couple of cartwheels, and my stomach did a few flips. Honestly, I hadn’t looked at my speed. I simply shot past my friends as fast as I could by the time I caught up to them, and then slowed down. All that time my eyes were simply on the road. In hindsight this speed isn’t a surprise – I had much more legroom than usual to attain a speed like that, when normally I pass them at 80-90mph. Also, my comfort zone extends well beyond 111mph, so it’s not like I would have felt like I was going uncontrollably fast. I mean, after going 165mph on a motorcycle well… nothing really compares. Your sense of speed just… dampens. Call it an excuse if you want but if you haven’t done it then don’t judge.

“uhm… I didn’t think I was going that fast…”

Stupid thing to say, but kinda true and besides what do you say to something like that? You never admit to doing that! “Oh why yes officer, and I was so set on hitting 120mph too. Darn it!”. Yea, right.

“Well you were. How many points do you have on your license?”

“None.” Which, thankfully, was true. Always be honest with cops. Just… seriously. Don’t fuck around. At least with stuff they can verify.

“None??”

“No, sir.”

“Okay then, sit tight.”

The cop turns back to his vehicle and then does an abrupt about face, coming back

“Are those windows tinted?”

“No, sir.”

I roll them up partway so he can see. My previous car did have tinted windows all around, minus the windshield. I got stopped twice in this same town for tint on my front windows, and another municipality actually gave me a court summons to appear to prove that I had had it removed. I told the cop as much, saying that I had thought a light tint was allowed in front. He clarified that that was factory tint installed by a dealer. (I knew this, but pretended not to in order to make small talk).

He walked around to the front of the vehicle and shone his light around, and I realized he was noting that my front plate was sitting on my dash and not mounted on my front bumper, as it is supposed to be by law. He walked on past back to his squad car, again telling me to sit tight. At this time a second police car showed up, and pulled around behind the first cop.

I sat and waited. I knew the deal – twice over the speed limit is an immediate revocation of your license for 30 days, not to mention the hefty speeding fine and insurance surcharge. I was also in a 65mph zone before I slowed down – that’s a doubled fine zone in NJ. A friend of mine had been stopped doing 110mph on a state highway (55mph zone) and suffered that fate years ago. He lamented it for years, and I was already starting to feel his pain. Still, I clung to a glimmer of hope for some reason. It just didn’t seem right. The cop didn’t seem properly agitated over my violation. I was expecting a much harsher tone of voice, actions, etc. from the officer when he first came up, berating me with verbal reprimands of my irresponsibility and foolishness.

As I pondered my fate, the crunching sound of boots on gravel reached my ears. I checked my mirrors and saw a cop approaching from each side. This is it, I thought – the next words I expected to hear were “would you please step out of the vehicle sir?” I braced myself to open the door slowly and step out with some measure of dignity, accepting what I had brought down upon myself. An arm came through the window and I freaked out inside myself for a split second, thinking the cop had finally snapped and was going to just haul me bodily from the car. Then I noticed his hand held my documentation. Without a word I took back my license and registration, and was afraid to look up and make eye contact. The arm returned, carrying a ticket, and I plucked that too, again bracing myself for him to announce the reduced-yet-still-substantial speeding violation.

“This is a summons, for not having your front license plate affixed to the vehicle.”

I wish I could say I remained calm and collected, but I must admit that I babbled like an idiot.

“Uhhh… ermmmm… ahhh… uhm. uhm…ahh..”

“I don’t see you smiling.”

There was no trace of humor or saracasm or anger – it was a matter-of-fact statement, the officer’s way of saying “Hey, dumbass, do you realize what the fuck I’m doing for you here?” I finally looked up at him – but I still didn’t know what to say. Obviously I was not going to smile and act like I was making light of the whole situation. I recognized the meaning behind his words and only gave him a silent nod in acknowledgement, finally able to work my mouth.

“I know I fucked up, and when I saw you turn around to come after me I was just like ‘hey, gig’s up’ and I slowed down. I knew you had me, and I knew I was messing around with my friends. I fucked up.”

The cop nodded.

“That’s what I had my buddy for, he was up sitting on the highway and I had him on the radio, you wouldn’t have gone anywhere.”

I related to the cop that I had seen car chases on TV – I wanted no part of that (not true – if I knew I was going to jail for a serious offense (not speeding) I would have been gone. He didn’t need to know that). He chuckled and mentioned how OJ’s car chase turned out, and I mentioned a chase I saw on the news just yesterday that ended in a truck t-boning the guy in the getaway car. He got fucked up. Quickly though the small talk on car chases wrapped up, and with a final “Get home safe” the cop departed, leaving me to drive slowly the rest of the way home in a somewhat dazed state. Even now I’m a bit afraid that I’m going to wake up to the cop banging on my roof telling me to step out of the vehicle.

Of course, on the way home I had to dodge like 3 herds of deer by the road – but that’s a whole other fucking deal.

End result is I have a $54 no-points ticket I can pay online. I checked with the officer and I don’t have to appear at court to prove I have my front plate mounted. In hindsight, I now realize he was asking if I had window tint as a way for him to get me out of the speeding violation. If I hadn’t had my plate off the front he probably would have been forced to give me a reduced speeding violation, which would have still carried points. No I am not getting my front plate mounted. I’ve also gotten out of speeding violations (no where near as severe as this) in previous years by getting a window tint ticket instead.

Now, I suppose had I been a few years younger I would have been all “Hahahah! Yea! I beat the system! Yea I got off scot free baby! Whooooo hoooo!!!!” Well, to be honest I always knew there would be a time where having a fast car and going fast in a car would kind of cancel each other out. This car is awesome, and I don’t want anything to happen to it. I don’t want it off the road in a ditch or stuck in an impound lot. I’ve had my fun, I’ve pushed it to 150mph on the open highway. Its legs are stretched and now so are mine.

Besides, how can anyone appreciate how good it looks when I whiz by them at 100mph+? I look forward to nice leisurely riding from here on out – because next time… if there is a next time… I know I won’t be so lucky.

The Second Chance

In case you were wondering about the title of this post, a somewhat similar occurance happend to me several years ago when I had my second car, a Chevy Cavalier coupe. I was cruising up a crowded Garden State Parkway northbound when I got boxed in the middle lane. I hate being boxed in or stuck behind a car that doesn’t let me see the road ahead. So first chance I got I zipped out and back into clearer traffic to the left. However to do this I needed to speed up considerably to get past the moving blockade trapping me in and I happened to make my move just as I passed two cop cars sitting on the median. I slammed on my brakes as much as possible without putting the car behind me in my trunk, and pulled back over to the right.

The cop caught up to me a mile later and pulled me over. He walked up and leaned in on my passenger side

“Son I don’t know what the hell you were doing but I clocked you going 93mph”

This is a 55mph zone. I explained to the cop that I was getting out of traffic. He didn’t seem to buy it but his look did soften a bit. He collected my information and walked back to the car, leaving me to stew as usual. I hadn’t been pulled over much yet, so I was still very nervous. By the time he finally came back I was near panicky. He leaned back in.

“Well, when I pulled out and clocked you a second time you were only going 85, so this here is a violation for 30mph over the speed limit.”

Well, that was a start. I got cut loose and continued on my way to Palisades Mall to finish my Christmas shopping.

If you would like to hear the rest of this story, I have it compiled with other violation reductions here in my post on trips to various courthouses.

Ok will I really slow down?

So I kind of have a history with getting off the hook. I think I’ve ridden my luck as far as it goes, however. The only reason I think I got let off this one is because of all the shit I had to go through with the whole NYC knife crime fiasco. I fucking earned this free pass.

But yea, seriously – enough with the dicking around. I think my account at the bank of luck is all dried up if I have to go through a criminal trial to get out of a huge speeding violation. “No thank you” to any of it.

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