My Toyota Highlander now has 115,000 miles on it, which translates into just under five circumnavigations of the planet. That’s a lotta driving and I’m definitely a driver and enjoy being on the move, even long drives across country. With all of that, I’m also a very safe and patient driver — no road rage here! — and cruise control is definitely my best friend when it comes to driving, with me constantly tapping it at 4-5 mph over the speed limit and being fine with other cars zipping past me. Safe, not sorry.
Last night, however, after an increasingly frustrating evening with my younger daughter K- and her little 10yo buddy getting more and more squirrelly, I decided around 7pm that it was time for her friend to head home rather than wait for her parent to pick her up from our place. We jumped in the car and headed to her place, about 8mi away along a major north/south corridor road, Foothills Expressway.
Foothills, aka Highway 119, connects Boulder and Longmont here in Colorado (you can see it in embedded map) and it’s mostly a 55mph road, but the portion further north (closer to Longmont) jumps up to 65mph. And so as we chatted, I kicked it up to 68mph, but about a 1/2 mile before the signage changed and the limit increased.
I flew past a cop sitting in the median, immediately knowing I was in trouble, slowed down, changed lanes, and watched him pull onto the road, catch up with me and, yes, flip on those darn #%@$ lights.
I asked the friend “ever been in a car pulled over by the police?” to which she said “yep.” She was completely unconcerned, didn’t even seem particular curious. Me? I was feeling resigned and frustrated with myself, anticipating an outcome that would include me writing a check to the city.
The officer comes up and I immediately cop to what I was doing. He asks where I was going and I explain it was just to take K-‘s friend home in Longmont. “Okay, license, registration and insurance, please.” I hand them to him and he goes back to his patrol car to check up on me.
This is where being law-abiding paid off: After a few minutes and him seeing that I have a completely clean record, he comes back and hands me a card along with my paperwork. “I’ll let you off with a warning this time. Just pay attention to the posted speed, please.”
PHEW! I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
A warning. What a relief. The rest of the drive, I’m happy to say, was without incident. But it was a good way for the universe to remind me that slowing down and taking the time to get there safe is better than getting overeager behind the wheel.
And the frustrating thing? When I did connect with the girl’s mom, she told me the plan was always for me to take her home at 5pm, a detail that the girl had conveniently forgotten when she was dropped off. Kids, bah!
Now, how about you? Had a close call with the law, and if so, what happened?
Over the years I’ve had a few encounters myself. One warning where I was over the limit with my wife and father in the car on the way home from a ski trip where the officer told my wife she was free to slap me if I drove too fast – no knowing that she drives faster than I do.
I have deserved both the speeding tickets I did get, but was pulled over once in my 1967 Chevelle where I did nothing wrong, but was targeted because of the car. It was 1am in Orange County and I had dropped my Uncle off after he flew into LAX. On my way back to the freeway I saw a cop car make a U turn as I passed him. I was on the street and legal when he saw me, and made sure I kept it under the limit as I got onto the freeway. Sure enough, he followed me, hit the lights, and pulled me over for speeding. He told me that he knew I was speeding, but could not prove it. I didn’t argue, since he could not write me up and just added ten minutes to my drive home.