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The 4 Most Common Reasons You’ll Get Pulled Over for a Ticket

Getting pulled over by law enforcement while driving can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether it’s the flashing lights in your rear view mirror or the sound of a siren, being pulled over is a situation that most drivers hope to avoid. But have you ever wondered why drivers get pulled over in the first place? 

In this blog, we will delve into the most common reasons and shed light on the violations that can get you pulled over by a cop, get a ticket, and watch your auto insurance rates skyrocket like 4th of July fireworks, as speeding tickets can raise premiums as much as 70%.

From exceeding the posted speed limit to using a cellphone while driving, these violations can lead to serious consequences and impact road safety. Understanding these reasons in detail will help drivers become more informed and responsible on the road to avoid potential fines, points on your license, and other legal consequences.

So, in the interest of our fellow drivers, with whom we share the road, below are the 5 common ways to get pulled over:


You knew this one would probably top the list, and for good reason – it’s dangerous behavior on the road. Speed limits are established to ensure the safe flow of traffic and protect all road users, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. When drivers exceed the posted speed limits, they put themselves and others at risk.

Just in 2020, speeding was a contributing factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities. This is why issuing speeding tickets has a huge impact on safety when concentrated in a specific area, as ticketing campaigns can reduce vehicle crashes by roughly 11%.

Common Reasons for Speeding

Some drivers may have a tendency to drive faster due to a lack of awareness about the dangers of speeding or a desire for thrill-seeking behavior. According to the Detroit Bureau there are several reasons why people may choose to speed, the data includes:

  • 24% claim they didn’t realize they were speeding
  • 18% say they are late for work
  • 14% remark that they were going as fast as everyone else
  • 11% blame being late to pick up or drop off a child
  • 11% tell police there is a medical emergency
  • 11% say they didn’t see a speed limit sign
  • 9% offer that they have to use the bathroom

However, these reasons are not valid excuses for exceeding the speed limits. If you have a need for speed, be ready to pay out for the ticket and the higher auto insurance premium. You may have been lucky so far and avoided the inevitable, but it’s just a matter of time. The odds are against you, considering a whopping 34 million speeding tickets are handed out each year in the U.S.

Which Are the Typical Speed Limits?

Speed limits vary depending on the location and type of road. In most residential areas, the speed limit is typically set around 25 per hour (mph), while on highways, it can range from 55 to 70 mph or higher. School zones and construction zones often have reduced speed limits for the safety of workers and pedestrians. It’s crucial to be aware of the posted speed limits and adhere to them at all times.

How to Avoid Getting Pulled Over for Speeding

Avoiding getting pulled over for speeding is simple:

  • Obey the posted speed limits at all times. It’s important to be aware of your speed and adjust it according to the road conditions, weather, and traffic flow. 
  • Planning ahead and leaving early can also help you avoid feeling rushed and tempted to speed.
  • Eliminate distractions, such as using cell phones or adjusting the radio, while driving to ensure full focus on the road. 
  • Regular vehicle maintenance, such as checking your tires and brakes, can also help you maintain a safe speed. 

Remember, arriving at your destination safely is always more important than reaching it quickly.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a prevalent reason why drivers get pulled over for a ticket. It refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the task of driving, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries. Distracted driving can take various forms, including:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Texting
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting the GPS
  • Grooming
  • Interacting with passengers
  • Daydreaming

These distractions can significantly impair a driver’s ability to focus on the road and react to changing traffic conditions, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Even a momentary lapse in attention can have devastating consequences, causing injuries, fatalities, and property damage.

Cops say the main reason is safety, not just yours but also the safety of other motorists you could be putting at risk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a staggering 40 percent of U.S. teens admit to having been in a car while the driver used a cell phone in an endangering way. If a cop spots you – you will more than likely get pulled over.

Equipment Violations

These violations typically involve issues with the vehicle’s equipment, improper tinting on windows (too dark), expired license plate tags, broken tail or headlights,  burned-out lights, or missing license plates.

Required Equipment in a Car

Every vehicle on the road is required to have certain equipment to ensure safe and legal operation. The specific requirements may vary by state, but common required equipment includes functioning headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, windshield wipers, rearview mirrors, seat belts, and properly displayed license plates. It’s important for drivers to familiarize themselves with the equipment requirements in their state and ensure their vehicle is compliant.

Equipment offenses are easy bait for tickets because they’re so simple to spot and a police officer doesn’t have to make any judgments about the violation. You can’t argue it in court.

Tailgating and Improper Lane Changes

Tailgating and improper lane changes are common traffic violations that can result in a traffic stop and a ticket. In the cop’s opinion, you’ve just increased your chances of having an accident with another car.

These violations pose a serious risk to road safety and are considered reckless maneuvers that cops said they monitor closely, especially if you’re viewed engaging in a dangerous lane change, cutting someone off or moving without looking. Other factors, including using the left lane for cruising instead of passing, driving too slowly, and squealing your tires in an “exhibition of speed” are also high on the list.

Tailgating, also known as following too closely, occurs when a driver fails to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. This can result in a traffic stop if the driver is observed tailgating by law enforcement officers. 

Improper lane changes, on the other hand, refer to changing lanes without using proper signals or failing to check for other vehicles, resulting in a violation of traffic laws.

Stop Sign Violations

Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, rolling through a stop sign, or failing to yield the right of way can all result in a traffic stop and a citation. Stop signs are in place to ensure safety at intersections and failing to comply with these traffic rules can result in serious consequences like fines, points on the driver’s license, increased insurance rates, and in some cases, license suspension or revocation.

Driving under the influence

Driving under the influence (DUI), or drunk driving,  is a serious traffic offense that involves operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. 

Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on Driving

Alcohol and drugs can significantly impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. They can affect coordination, reaction time, judgment, and perception, leading to reduced motor skills, impaired decision-making, and increased risk of a car accident. Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs can impair driving performance and increase the likelihood of a traffic stop and citation.

Laws and Consequences of DUI

The laws regarding DUI vary by jurisdiction, but in most places, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a certain limit, typically 0.08% or higher. Penalties for DUI can include fines, license suspension or revocation, mandatory alcohol or drug education or treatment programs, community service, and even imprisonment. Repeat offenders or cases involving injuries or fatalities may result in more severe consequences.

How to Avoid Getting Pulled Over for DUI

To avoid getting pulled over for a DUI, it’s crucial to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you plan to drink or use drugs, make alternate arrangements for transportation, such as using a designated driver, taking public transportation, or arranging for a ride-sharing service or taxi. If you suspect that you may be impaired, it’s best to refrain from driving altogether.

It’s Just a Matter of Common Sense

None of these driving infractions should come as a surprise to most drivers in any survey. The point is – you can control each and every one of these with a little effort. It’s just a matter of common sense – should you want to avoid getting pulled over and keeping your auto insurance rates low.

Find Affordable Comprehensive Insurance at Freeway Insurance

While you’re checking on ways to avoid getting pulled over and safe driving, make sure you’re protected and getting the best rate on your insurance. Get a fast and free car insurance quote online, call us at (800) 777-5620 or stop by one of our convenient locations.

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