Friday Firesmith – Traffic Count

Friday firesmithThe holiday season brings out the very worst in humanity as far as driving goes and because traffic is heavier there are more morons mixed in with those of us who are really good drivers.

Oh? You wonder how I can make this claim?

I got my last speeding ticket, and my last traffic ticket, in 1987. I was going 47 in a 35 zone.
The last time I hit someone in a car and it was my fault was in 1982.

The only real speeding ticket I got was for doing 71 in a 55 zone. Hardly the stuff of legends, yes.

I’ve never gotten a DUI in my life. To be honest and fair and forthcoming I have been in three at fault wrecks, been too drunk to stand up in all three of them, and been released to drive away from all three incidents. Well, one I was allowed to stagger away; the car was smashed. 

Hit the right person. Hit the right person at the right time. Hit the right person in the right place.

Or don’t drink and drive. Your choice.

Alrighty then, I wasn’t always a great driver. I had to grow up a bit before I could make that claim, and slow down a bit, too.

The most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me in a car was the wreck I had in 1985, when I was drinking a Daiquiri out of a quart container and listening to my intended date’s roomie bitch about getting dumped by her boyfriend so he could take some High School girl out to the prom.

The car we hit was that guy with that girl going to that prom.

Seriously.  That was surreal.

How fast? How weird? How many speeding tickets have you gotten or better yet, how long have you gone without one?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.


35 comments to Friday Firesmith – Traffic Count

  • Grog

    I’m not reckless, by my definition, but I always drive at least 10 over the posted limit, yet I’ve only gotten 3 tickets in my 40+ years behind the wheel. I love lateral g’s, and I’ve driven small sporty cars all my life.

  • Elagie

    How about you don’t drink and drive, period. Causing three car wrecks while drunk is horrific. The fact that you didn’t kill someone is just luck; the fact that you didn’t even get a DUI is shameful.

    • Elagie, I stopped drinking and driving in 1985. Back when I started driving everyone drank and drove. “One for the road”, remember that saying?

      It was a different world and as I pointed out above Alrighty then, I wasn’t always a great driver. I had to grow up a bit before I could make that claim, and slow down a bit, too.

      So you cannot make the claim that my intention is to glorify reckless behavior. In fact, I think by bragging that I haven’t gotten a ticket in a very long time is doing the exact opposite.

  • xoxoxoBruce

    Elagie, you’re talking the 2013, politically correct, position. This wasn’t always the popular view of drinking and driving, 30 or 40 years ago you would have been in the minority.

  • Elagie

    Bruce, I do realize that (I’m 53) — my point was he in no way indicated in this piece that this is a very outdated and dangerous way of thinking. On the contrary, its intention seems to me to draw out and glorify everyone’s drunk/unsafe driving stories.

  • whitenoiz

    Hardly an auspicious start to my driving career… UK 1972 pre seat belt regulation era, and definitely pre-ABS systems… Driving examiner was sitting sideways in the front passenger seat, unbelted (none fitted), had just finished briefing me on the Emergency Stop procedure… he would, without warning, slap the dashboard at which point I was to make a fully controlled emergency stop, ensuring that whilst doing so I would be expected NOT to stall the engine. This was to be the last item on the test agenda. City street, cars parked both sides of the road; small child ran out into the road directly into my path. I hit the brakes, hard, and shuddered to a stop avoiding hitting child. Driving examiner was thrown from his seat, hit his head on the windscreen and was rendered unconscious. We were about a half mile from the local Accident & Emergency so drove him to the hospital. I parked up, and went to get a nurse from the reception area. Whilst I was away the examiner came round but was helped into the A&E Dept anyway on my return. I stayed around until he was discharged and told to go home. The hospital had phoned the Test Centre and they sent another examiner out to take his place and conclude my test. The test sheet was clean, no faults noted no comments passed. When we arrived back at the Test Centre the ‘new’ examiner told me, “Sorry but you have failed the Test”. I protested… clean sheet, no remarks and I had proved conclusively that I could carry out a controlled emergency stop… His reason for failing me? I drove the vehicle from the incident to the hospital without a competent, qualified driver accompanying me… The Tset Centre did however allow me a free repeat test later that day… I passed!

    Following on from that 50 years of driving mainly long haul commuting up to 150 miles a day, well over 850,000 miles under my wheels in a variety of different cars, mainly similar to the one depicted below…
    2 own fault accidents, one in 1976, the other in 1992.
    2 speeding tickets… one in 1999, 85mph in a 70 mph zone on a motorway in the UK and the other in 2011, 60kph in a 40kph zone here in Spain…
    The second offense occurred under braking, on an off ramp from the Malaga / Seville to Granada motorway after the authorities moved the 40 limit post 200 meters to a point closer to the motorway…unbeknown to me and the other two hundred or so ‘victims’ stopped by the Guardia Civil Trafficos during the week following the move! At 300 euros per shot, payable on the spot that’s 60,000 Euros for a weeks work… a lot of revenue!

    • whitenoiz,

      I think you did the right thing and they should have passed you on the spot with a commendation.

      85 is a bit much, but I will confess to having visited that area of speed, maybe once or twice.

  • Jester

    Cannot agree more, if you drink do not drive. I can tell you there were many times I would find myself in a car in places I had no idea how I got there. I am not proud of that time. It frightens me to think what I might have done to someone else or to myself (mid 1960′s). The worse ticket was reckless driving on a freeway(1970). I was stupid and dumb but angry in a car, things that do not mix well at all. The last ticket was running a stop sign in front of a cop (2002). I was so buzzy trying to make the light onto the expressway I never saw him. Talk about feeling stupid.

    • We have survived ourselves in spite of our pasts, Jester.

      I wouldn’t want to try it again. Elagie is right about me being lucky that I never hurt anyone. Including myself.

  • Many, Many tickets over the years, but a squeaky clean driving record.

    Last wreck was my fault, traffic came to a sudden stop, I couldn’t brake in time…..but neither could the guy behind me. Luckily the guy who hit me had to pay for ALL 3 vehicles!

  • that1chick

    I’ve had several speeding tickets, none in the past 3 or so years. The speeding ticket that pissed me off the most was the one where I got pulled over, but the car I was trying to catch got away. Or maybe the one I got on Thanksgiving day a few years ago for going 3 miles over the limit because the cop was mad that he had to work that day.
    I’ve been hit 3 times, but never been involved in an accident where I was at fault. When I did used to go out and drink, I never drove if I’d had too much. All in all I’ve been pretty fortunate.
    I did fail my first driving test. I ran a stop sign, there were tree branches hanging in front of it. I’m pretty sure they did that on purpose.

    • Chick,

      I hate it when they do something like plant a cop near an obstructed sign or at the bottom of a curve.

      A friend of mind got a ticket for doing five miles over the limit but the cop was just hitting on her, I think.

      Hmmm, maybe your three mile an hour over cop was hitting on you?

  • Bella

    I’m as clean as the driven snow! No speeding tickets (one warning), no parking tickets (only my son when he drove my vehicle), never been towed, never been arrested, no accidents that were my fault. I’ve been in a few serious accidents but always as a passenger. However, years ago I can remember (barely) driving so pissed that I had to close one eye because I was seeing double lines. I’m also very thankful that I’ve never harmed anyone when I hit that stupid zone and thought I could drive. I do not drink and drive at all now. It’s just dumb. I’ve lost too many friends that way. :( We have a small business here called Keys Please where they show up with two drivers and one drives your vehicle home and the other drives you home. It costs slightly more than a cab and is worth every dollar.

  • DJ

    Many speeding tickets in about 46+ yrs of driving, most run-of-the-mill routine violations, nothing outrageous. I’ve been in a lot of accidents, a few of which my car was totaled, and one in which the other driver was killed, but in roughly 1,000,000 miles of commuting, travel in 45 of the lower 48, and 9 of the 10 provinces, plus an extremely short 18-wheeler career, I’ve never been at fault in any accident ever.
    I don’t drink enuf to ever get drunk, but I have driven a little bit buzzed a few times, (one of them involving a BABBQ), and I don’t enjoy that at all.

    • So what was your fastest ticket, Don?

      • DJ

        I usually get nailed in that 15 mph over the limit area. Usually high 40s in a 35. I think when I was a teen, over 40 yrs ago, I got caught going 61 in a 35, down a long steep grade. Had to go to court on that one, and that fine + the “court costs” scam pretty much cured me. Tickets cost a LOT of money around here these days.

  • revrick315

    Fastest speeding ticket – 80 in a 70. Fastest I’ve been pulled over – Roughly 125. The trooper said “Marine, SLOW DOWN dumbass!”

    • Roughly?

      Damn, man, was someone having a baby?

      • revrick315

        I spent a lot of time seeing how fast my vehicles would go. One time, I had just bought a Norton 850 motorcycle and the speedometer didn’t work right. I had my buddy follow me in my Camaro. He dropped back and I thought, crap, my car messed up. I circled back to check on him and he said “we hit 120 and you started walking away, so I just stopped.” I had a Plum Crazy (that’s purple) 70 Cuda that I drove over 100 on Pennsylvania Ave in DC and a 68 Tbird I drove around 135 on the Interstate, but now I’m more impressed with another gauge in the car. Now, I spend all my time trying to maximize mileage. I’ve only had that one speeding ticket.

        As a matter of fact, on that speeding ticket, I had to go to court and for some reason there was a lawyer there. He asked me my name and occupation. I told him my name and that I was an IT Specialist/Systems Programmer/Administrator (which was the official ‘title’). The lawyer said, “Wow, impressive title.” Without thinking or actually meaning anything bad by it, I said “Nah, it sounds more important than it really is, like lawyer or judge.” The attorney’s jaw dropped and he started sputtering. The judge chuckled. They dropped the fine down and that was that.

  • Only one speeding ticket that I remember, nothing big – a little too fast in a school zone about 20+ years ago. And actually only four minor accidents that I can remember without any real repercussions one way or the other, some a bit of me some a bit of them, nothing to break the bank.
    But really, when I think of the countless close calls with misjudgments, a couple of those accidents or dealings with cops, well, I’ve been very lucky and smartened up as I got older.
    All of that was at least over 15 years ago. I’ve had nothing in a very long time and I hope to keep it that way.
    ;)thanks for asking! It’s a good time of year to remember how to drive well, especially in this winter weather.

  • grumpy

    KISS. Drive like you want EVERYONE else to drive.

    Then expect that they don’t, so drive as if all the drivers around you are 10 times worst than you.

    Macho driving (often the cause of road rage) is worse than sloppy driving.

  • ChrisInAtlanta

    I am generally a very good driver. Note that I am an autocrosser who drives an open wheel race car – medium speed high precision driving. The night before last I had a cop looking at me in frustration and raising his hands and shoulders to my idiocy. Accident, him on the scene. I had pulled out into traffic to turn, as folks before me had been doing. But the tow truck had just arrived, and the cop was managing the scene. And when the light changed. a few seconds from now, I was blocking traffic that could be flowing. So when the tow truck was far away from the scene, about to start backing up, I slipped between him and the accident. To allow traffic to flow. And got the cops disgust with me. Safe, absolutely, for all concerned, but pissed the cop off. Am still in fear of him pulling me over with a lecture today. I in retrospect should not have pulled out as all others before me had. The sight of the cop with his arms and shoulders raised at me will haunt me for a while.

  • whitenoiz

    Seems appropriate…


  • Richard

    I drive completely sober, but not necessarily smart. My last ticket, five years ago, was for 75 in a 55 zone. My biggest dumbass move was winding out my car on Georgia 316, which is a limited access highway. I got my car up to 130 before the front end started getting a floating feeling, which got me slowing down real quick. No other cars within a mile in either direction, but still not my finest hour. Never again…

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