Just curious, how many have you gotten? Do you consider yourself a safe driver? Has your insurance been affected?

I had to get a copy of my drivers record from the DMV today (online because I don’t hate myself) and it reminded me of my only ticket. I had just gotten my license a month ago, and was pulled over for doing 45mph in a 25mph zone, with my girlfriend in the car. I was polite, and the officer treated me very kindly, putting a “5mph over” infraction in the record and foregoing to mention the fact that I had another teen in the car before my 6 months of introductory driving rules was up. As I minor, I had the option to go to teen court, which cut the fine to $20 and kept the offense from affecting anything.

No tickets since then! But.... A few close calls. Most recently I was pulled over for having expired tabs in my Subaru. This was about a year ago.... I had the tabs in the glove box and had forgotten about them and the cop let me go. Three months past due...

Before that I got pulled over in the Miata for not having a front plate. This was nerve-racking, because my registration had been stolen from the car a few weeks prior, AND I had no insurance. (I waited 8 months to insure the Miata. Dumb, but I ended up saving a lot of money...) anywho, when asked about insurance and registration, I said I would have to get out of the car and open the secret compartment in my trunk to get it. The officer told me not to bother, and sent me away with a warning about the front plate.

Before that... I was pulled over at midnight in my Outback for whipping a U-turn across double yellow lines. There was only one car I’m sight, quite a ways away. Turns out that was an officer. Hooray. He said he was an investigator, and decided against ticketing me due to the fact that he would have to file paperwork and he hated dealing with traffic violations. Nice.

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So all in all I’ve been pretty lucky. I used to drive with a radar detector 24/7, but haven’t don’t that for years. To me it’s just a false sense of security, and they become less and less effective as time (and technology) marches on. Plus they’re annoying, and certainly don’t help you avoid a ticket if a cop notices them. The biggest knock I have against them is they act as a crutch. I’m 100% confident that my cop-spotting senses improved markedly after removing the radar detector.

Am I a good driver?

Well... I’m good at handling my car at the limits, and know how to safely recover from just about anything. I don’t have a working speedo, which has led to a driving style that might be slightly unique - I don’t have a set speed I go on a given road, at a given time, or for a given traffic level. I drive at whatever speed feels safe while factoring in things like current fatigue level, weather, visibility, road surface, sight lines, etc. It actually doesn’t end up meaning I’m speeding all the time. There are certainly situations where I’m going under the limit.

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That said, I also have zero problem redlining through gears on an empty road, or drifting an onramp on my way to work. I specifically use a GPS speedo on long trips (over 100miles) to make sure I’m going AT LEAST 15mph over the entire time I’m on the highway to save time. When there aren’t other cars around, it’s hard to determine exact speeds past 60 or so.

So, I’m an okay driver, I guess. I’m helped out by the fact that my car breeds a high level of attentiveness and constant vigilance all the time for my personal safety, and the fact that my car can stop and change course quicker than 99% of the vehicles on the road. That said, I have no problem admitting that avoiding tickets is a higher priority to me than trying to drive as safely as possible.

Oh and insurance obviously hasn’t been affected. Paying $90 a month for the Miata, mid-level coverage. Nothing fancy. About the same for the Subaru? Maybe a hair more?

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What about you all, oppo?