Got My First Ticket Today: A Cautionary Tale About Yellow Lights
As someone who has, yes, been pulled over before but only received warnings, I got my first ticket today and, no, I'm not happy about it.
Let's Start With What Happened
I'll admit I have a bit of a lead-foot and have been stopped for speeding twice in my years of driving. This time, though, it was a case of bad timing and judgement at the wrong place.
As I was coming up on an intersection five minutes from home, the light turned yellow. I thought I had time to make it through but it was one of those ones that makes you cringe as you decide to go for it and the light turns red as you're under it.
Well, lo-and-behold, who should be on the line waiting to cross at the other part of the intersection but a Michigan State Police trooper...on a motorcycle nonetheless.
The lights immediately flashed as I passed and I immediately thought "Oh, s**t...of course you'd be there."
I'm Not Mad, Just Disappointed
Look, nobody enjoys being pulled over. Nobody enjoys getting a ticket. However, that's not even why I'm bent up about this.
I've gotten lucky before only getting warnings, that luck was bound to end eventually.
However, moments before, I was actually debating either taking the road I ended up on or avoiding the intersections by taking the highway...and getting pulled over confirmed I should have gone the other way.
Also, I was exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, physically...I was just ready to get home and was SO CLOSE. I drove the 30 minutes from Lansing only to get pulled over so close to my house.
I was also annoyed with myself. I come to that intersection every day, twice a day, and THIS was the time I made a dumb mistake and someone HAPPENED to be there right when I did it.
The interaction with the officer was as cordial as one would hope to have being face-to-face with a State Trooper who's about to give you a ticket for a dumb mistake.
A Lesson Learned On Yellow Lights
I'll admit, I always thought if a light was yellow, you could still go through it as long as you didn't speed up to zoom through it. Obviously, you should TRY to stop if you can help it.
CLICK HERE for MSP's specifics on the laws.
This time, I could have helped it but I was just in such a yank to get home, I didn't and now I have a lovely piece of paper that is still somehow not as long as a CVS receipt to show for it.
As I was shaking handing the officer my information (I'm basically a chihuahua) I realized my nervousness is something all too many people in this country feel. Had I been anyone other than a young, nervous white girl, my anxiousness about the situation definitely could have been about way more than if I was about to get a ticket for the first time or not.
In the end, just make sure to at least slow down and attempt to stop at yellow lights...in the grand scheme of things, stopping for a few minutes at a light is better than stopping a lot longer for those those dreaded, flashing, red and blue ones.