Here are the most common reasons drivers find themselves having to deal with a traffic stop:
Speed limits are implemented for safety. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data indicates speeding is still the number one factor in more than 25 percent of fatal accidents each year. The accidents and incidents on the road that have been caused or aggravated by speeding could have been easily prevented.
Cell phone use
NHTSA data also show the percent of fatal distraction-affected crashes involving cell phone use was at 13.4% in in 2019, a mere single point lower than 13.5 in 2018. Unless you’re dealing with a major emergency, don’t put your life and the life of others in danger.
Erratic lane changes
These are sure signs of distracted, drowsy, or drunk driving. All three scenarios can lead to fatal accidents, so if you get pulled over because of this, you may just have been saved from grave danger. If you feel very sleepy or fatigued, or if you’ve had too much to drink, see if you can get a ride with a friend or have someone else (your spouse, partner, etc.) drive your car.
Vehicle equipment violations
These violations include the following:
- Broken taillight or burned-out headlight
- Broken windshield
- Broken or missed driver-side mirror
- Busted rear license plate light
- Missing front license plate
- Expired or missing registration tags
- Trailer hitch obstructing your license plate
- Tinted cover over license plate
- Towing of an unregistered vehicle, trailer, or boat
- Illegal modifications (e.g., loud exhaust, tinted driver’s side or front passenger’s side windows, lowriders, etc.)
- Driving on the freeway with a “donut” spare tire
This is guaranteed to get the attention of a police officer. But you shouldn’t worry, because this is very easy to avoid.
In good weather, you can use the three-second rule to maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you: Measure the distance by choosing a landmark on the side of the road such as a lamppost or a street sign and then making sure that you pass it only after three seconds since the vehicle in front of you passed it.
In bad weather, when visibility is a problem, maintain an even greater distance between you and the car ahead.
Passenger leaning or hanging out the window
No passenger should be doing this out on the highway or on any busy street. Just keep all extremities inside the car to be safe, and to avoid being stopped.
Avoiding a traffic stop is pretty easy when you think about it. It just takes discipline, focus on the road, proper and regular vehicle maintenance checkup to ensure everything is working. Oh, and to check your state laws if you’re thinking of making modifications to your vehicle.