April 29, 2013 (Foster City, CA) – Plead ignorance. That's the most-used excuse when drivers are pulled over for a traffic violation, according to Insurance.com's new "Ticketmasters" survey.
Among people who said they have used excuses when pulled over by a police officer, here's how explanations break down:
1. I couldn't see the sign telling me not to do it: 20.4 percent
2. I'm lost and unfamiliar with the roads: 15.6 percent
3. I didn't know it was broken: 12.4 percent
4. Everyone else was doing it: 6.4 percent
5. I'm having an emergency situation in my car. (For instance, spilled a hot drink on your lap.): 5.4 percent
6. I missed my turn/exit: 4.8 percent
7. I had to go to the bathroom: 4.6 percent
8. I didn't do anything dangerous: 4.2 percent
9. I was on my way to an emergency. (For example, to help someone who is ill or injured.): 4 percent
10. My GPS said it was the right thing to do: 2.2 percent
11. I'm just helping out; I wasn't even supposed to be driving. (For example, your friend is intoxicated.): 2 percent
"By now, police officers can probably finish people's sentences," said Michelle Megna, managing editor of Insurance.com. "I wonder if they wouldn’t appreciate a little dog-ate-my-homework creativity."
Men are more likely to rationalize their driving behavior by saying they were being altruistic – "I'm just helping out. I wasn't even supposed to be driving!" Among people who have used this excuse, 90 percent were men.
Among people who said they have used the excuses listed above, here are the differences in men vs. women:
I couldn't see the sign telling me not to do it.
Men: 38 percent
Women: 62 percent
I'm lost and unfamiliar with the roads.
Men: 35 percent
Women: 65 percent
I didn't know it was broken.
Men: 39 percent
Women: 61 percent
Everyone else was doing it.
Men: 56 percent
Women: 44 percent
I'm having an emergency situation in my car. (For instance, spilled a hot drink on your lap.)
Men: 67 percent
Women: 33 percent
I missed my turn/exit.
Men: 54 percent
Women: 46 percent
I had to go to the bathroom.
Men: 35 percent
Women: 65 percent
I didn’t do anything dangerous.
Men: 71 percent
Women: 29 percent
I was on my way to an emergency. (For example, to help someone who is ill or injured.)
Men: 55 percent
Women: 45 percent
My GPS said it was the right thing to do.
Men: 82 percent
Women: 18 percent
I'm just helping out. I wasn't even supposed to be driving. (For example, your friend is intoxicated.)
Men: 90 percent
Women: 10 percent
"In the end, the excuses don't matter. Your driving record doesn’t have asterisks and footnotes,"said Megna.
Tips for traffic stops
If you are pulled over, no matter what your excuse is, here’s what to do:
1. Acknowledge the officer’s presence by turning on the right turn signal.
2. Move your vehicle to the right shoulder of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
3. Turn on your hazard lights.
4. Turn off your radio. Do not make a phone call.
5. Remain inside your vehicle.
6. Place your hands in clear view; for example, on your steering wheel.
If you wind up getting a ticket, you may pay more for car insurance when your insurer runs your next DMV report. Insurance.com’s Uh-Oh! Calculator will tell you the average rate increases for 14 common traffic violations.
See the full "Ticketmasters" article at http://www.insurance.com /auto-insurance/safety/traffic-ticket-excuses.html
Insurance.com commissioned a survey of 500 licensed drivers age 18 and over. The survey was fielded in February 2013.
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