Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flashing lights

I'm an upstanding citizen.

At least when it comes to my driving record.

Until today, I'd only been pulled over by the cops once. It's a pretty cool story....

It was only a few days after I got my driver's license, when my Dutch friend Marcia Streuper allowed me to drive her car. It was a very exciting occasion, since all I had was a bike. So we hopped in the car. It was dark outside, so I turned the light knob to the right. I can vividly remember where I was driving by BYU campus, in a 30 mile speedzone, when a cop turned on his lights behind me. I checked my speed gauge, and then the speed limit sign at the side of the road, and knew I wasn't breaking any laws. So I kept going. I don't know why I thought flashing lights were not a sign for me to stop. Did the cop just turn them on for fun? Would he turn them back off once he realized I wasn't speeding? Of course the answer is no, but I guess I was clueless. It wasn't until he turned his sirens on that I decided it was time to pull over.

So he pulled me over, and asked for my license and registration. Now you would think that since I had just gotten my license, I would proudly have it on me at all times of the day. Another clueless moment I guess, because I totally didn't have my license. The cop informed me that he pulled me over for not having my headlights on. I was confused. I remembered turning the know to the right. Well... turns out the first switch just controlled the parking lights (why would they design the lights like that? like you would ever only need parking brakes??)

So I explained my confusion about the lights. I also explained that the reason I hadn't pulled over, was that I had just moved from Holland, and the rules were different there (really?!?).

Right about this time I started bawling. Not to try to get the cop to take it easy on me, but because I was freaking out. What if he had to take me to jail? I don't know if it was my blond hair, or the tears, or my stupidity, but he let me off with a warning. Thinking back to that, I'm amazed he let me go that easily. I didn't stop, I had no license, and my lights were off.

Forward 11 years. I was on my way back from some girl time in Bonham, when a car was kind of riding my tail for a minute. I was expecting them to pass me, but then the flashing lights came on. In my wiser state, I immediately pulled over. Then I remembered the tips my father-in-law gave me about being pulled over at night.
  • turn on your cabin light
  • get out your license
  • roll down your window
  • put you hands on the steering wheel
  • greet the cop in a friendly manner
Those things all help the cops to feel safer. The cop who asked for my license and registration was obviously new. He seemed very timid/scared, and didn't immediately tell me why he pulled me over. Even though the adrenaline was rushing (because of those dumb lights), I was quite confident in my innocence. My first instinct was that one of my rear lights was out. That was pretty close, it was actually the license plate light. After checking my spotless driving record, I again came away with a verbal warning.

So that's my complete record of pull-over history. Twice in 11 years of driving- not too shabby.


Majo said...

Da's grappig! Toen wij in Boise woonden werden Emma en ik 1 keer van de weg gehaald en het begon eigenlijk op dezelfde manier als bij jou. Ik had ook totaal geen idee waarom een politieauto naar mij met licht seinde (hij kwam zelfs van de andere kant). Toen hij daarna achter mij aan kwam en zijn sirene liet horen ben ik uiteraard ook gestopt. Emma en ik kwamen net van de mall en in het licht van de parkeerplaats was mij niet opgevallen dat ik mijn lichtknopje niet helemaal had omgedraaid. Ook ik kwam er met een waarschuwing vanaf; maar had wel mijn nederlandse rijbewijs bij me; dat zal vast indruk hebben gemaakt ;)

Nancy Sabina said...

I got in trouble for not pulling over once when a cop only turned on his lights - and I've never lived in Holland. I figured that if it was just lights he probably just wanted me to get out of the way, so I went forward a little more until I came to the parking lot I was going into anyway. He was not happy and DID in fact give me a ticket. For an expired registration.

But that's a very good record you've got there. Impressive.

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