How to spot a cop and avoid a ticket

Traffic tickets are a multi-billion industry. Often, tickets have little to do with highway safety, but everything to do with money. Police officers are often given ticket quotas and rated based on whether they meet this quota. Also, traffic courts that are supposedly fair and unbiased rely on the funds that we pay in traffic tickets in order to function. Because of this, they are unlikely to rule in the driver’s favor.

It’s because of these reasons that drivers should become adept at spotting under-cover police officers on the road and avoid getting screwed with an expensive ticket. Following is a list of the tell-tale signs to look for:

Multiple antennas- Driving past a car that has numerous antennas on it should cause a certain level of discomfort. If this is something you have not picked up on yet, then it should be your first task.

Superfluous mirrors- This also makes undercover cops stand out from the rest of traffic. Right above the side view mirror, they often have another mirror or a spotlight. Again, you need to practice picking up on this so you can automatically know if you should slow down or not.

EX license plate- Many law enforcement vehicles have an ex listed top-down on the right side of the license plate. This stands for ‘exempt.’ If you see this, use caution. It may only be a firefighter or other agency that can’t pull you over, but it could be a cop. The ex, however, is often not on undercover cars, so you can’t always expect to see it.

Hidden Lights- This strategy is a bit trickier, but I assure you it’s worth the effort. It’s saved me from zooming past undercover cops many times. If you are passing by a car that could be an undercover cop car, look inside at the back rear view mirror. Do you see a contraption that could suddenly starting flashing red and blue? If so, slow down. Also, look past to the rear view mirror inside the car. Is it bulkier than typical rear view mirrors? If so, blue and red lights may be on it as well.

Speed traps- If you’ve driven for even a short amount of time, you’ve seen an officer clocking speeds in a speed trap. These speed traps can be anywhere where the cop wants, but on the freeway they are most often on the freeway median, where there is usually a sign that says ‘no U-turns.’ The easiest way to avert being speed trapped is to memorize where the speed traps are on your usual routes. If you are going into unfamiliar areas, go to to find out where the speed traps are.

More tips- Never speed going up a hill or around a curve. These are prime ticketing areas. Also, police officers ticket drivers in the middle lane far less that the left and right lanes. So stick to the middle lane as much as you can.

Usually, at least one of these things will be apparent on an undercover police officer’s vehicle. Even one of them should lead the cautious driver to resist the need for speed. It’s a lot better to just slow down instead of having to pay a large sum of money for an easily preventable action. Yet the need for speed is very real, so we could hardly expect drivers to obey the speed limits all the time. Because of this, knowing how to spot undercover-officers is a valuable skill.

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