"I couldn't see the sign" is No. 1 excuse when pulled over, according to Insurance.com survey

Posted : 04/29/2013

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."

Helping out

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

Methodology

Insurance.com commissioned a survey of 500 licensed drivers age 18 and over.  The survey was fielded in February 2013.

About Insurance.com

Insurance.com provides articles that help consumers understand insurance. The site makes it easy for consumers to research insurance questions and get fast, free comparison rates from multiple companies. Experts from Insurance.com are available for interviews about car insurance rates and other auto insurance topics. Insurance.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

Twitter: @InsuranceDotCom
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Press contact:

Michelle Megna
413-923-1814
mmegna (at) insurance.com

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