Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lesson Learned: Speed Limits Are For Real

Here in California, posted speed limits, whatever they be, are primarily suggestions. Try going 55mph on the highway and you will likely get run over. And that's in the right-hand lane.
You see, we may have a right-hand lane, but every lane is a passing lane, and there is no such thing as a slow lane.
You can go 85mph even in the 55mph zone if everybody else is doing it(and they usually are) without running too big a risk of being bothered by the cops.

Well, my first morning in Arkansas I was taught differently. Cruising a down slope, in a very unpopulated area near the airport, nobody near for half a mile, some cop pulls out of a mostly hidden spot along the road and pulls me over. My crime: going 50mph in a 40mph zone.
Taking my license and information, after asking a few questions about my presence so far from home,(No, Sir. I have no people here.), he retreated to his patrol car and started talkin through his radio.
A few minutes went by, and he still hadn't returned, and I just sat there, wondering what all the fuss was.
And kept on waiting.
Finally, at about the 15 minute mark, I started to worry. Last time a traffic stop took this long I was, unwittingly, on my way to jail.
Right about this time, as I'm thinking the worst, I see a second patrol car coming up the road toward us. Yup, I knew it. If only knew what for.(Well, I did have an idea what for, but I'll keep that to myself for now).
A few seconds later,to my relief, the second patrol car passed us by... and kept on going. whew!

So I just sat there, watching the cop in my rear view, as more minutes ticked by. He was still on the radio.
Still talking about me.
Now I'm gettin impatient.
What the hell is so damned interesting about me?
Come on dude. Bust me or not, just do it.

Cop walks over to me, I notice he's not reaching for cuffs, but does have a ticket book in his hand.
OK. That's cool. I'll take it.
Handing me the citation, I notice, big letters across the top:WARNING
Warning? What the hell is this?

Then Cop proceeded to lecture me on safety, being attentive, and all the horrible accidents,blahblahblah...
It felt like I was still in driver's ed 27 years ago.
What's next? A note home to Mom?

For good measure, I collected another one of these WARNING chits two days later,along with another lecture, for doing 46 in a 35 zone.

Oh, well.
They do things different here.
Sure beats a ticket. And a fine.
And it sure ain't California.


Andy said...

Back in 1993 when I was moving my belongings from my freshman year of college in Los Angeles back to my parents' in Portland for the semester I took off to save money for my move to New York, I was cruising up I-5 in my dad's Toyota wagon with the back so full of crud I couldn't see out the rear window. I had no idea I was going nearly 90 mph until a cop passed me and I looked at the speedometer. He didn't have his lights on or anything, he just pulled around me and left me in the dust.

Gino said...

andy: the I-5, north of LA,thru the central valley, is a fast moving, desolate stretch. its posted 70 mph, but only old guys in corvettes do the limit. keep it under triple digits, and you shouldnt have any issues.
i normally set the cruise for around 88-89 and just let it roll.

RW said...

I tried to tell you about those Arky troopers didn't I? You didn't listen did you? Know better than me about that shit ain't it? Go ahead... be that way.

Gino said...

yeah, you did.
but i tried not to be suspicious, per your advice.

kingdavid said...

Back in my prime baseball playing days as a teen, our coach would set up games with teams all over the Southern part of MN. We'd drive through the dinkiest little towns, and every one of them had a beautiful fenced in ballpark that would be the envy of many minor league teams. One of the dads asked us one time how could these towns afford such nice fields---speeding tickets he said. They'd fine the snot out of motorists until they had enough to build the ballpark. I'm not sure how true it was, but since the only other explanation would be kickbacks from prostitution, I'd go with the ticket theory.

Jade said...

We got stopped for speeding once in California, on our way from Temecula back to Santa Cruz, it was someplace north of LA (but not I-5 - can't remember what route we were taking...) Anyway, the cop only pulled us over because he was behind us going 80 in the left lane for "some time" and Dan never slowed down on his own. His brother's response to the news "How do you get a speeding ticket in California? I didn't think your truck would go that fast!"

I-5 North in CA is beautiful, just remember to slow down when you cross to Oregon, where they like to teach "California drivers" a lesson.

TwoFoot said...

Be advised, they keep records of the number of warning tickets they write a person. Keep driving like Arkansas is the Indy 500 and you will run out of warnings real quick.

Gino said...

twofoot: seriously, i was curious about that. i was certain i was getting 'it' the second time, until he came back with just a warning.
but do they always have to wait at the bottom of a hill?

Twofoot said...

LOL... Yea, wanna make sure they can catch you AFTER gravity has had its effect. Hell brother, imagine how us poor, innocent truckers feel about cops at the bottom of hills.

The Law Fairy said...

Goddammit Gino. I can't flirt my way out of a ticket when I TRY.

And believe me, I've tried. Here in LA AND in Colorado Springs.

Girl power my ass.


Gino said...

gay cop,maybe?

my last ticket was in late 98, wihich i fought and won.

been unmolested since then, until memorial weekend, when i was pulled over with mom in the car, and he let me go with a warning. this was just before i left for AR.