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By Jordan W. Charness
Peter had that smirk on his face which means that he got away with something. He had just returned from a mini three-day vacation in Ogunquit, Maine. He and his wife had been working really hard and really needed to just get away from it all. Since he was driving during the annual fall “traffic ticket season” I asked him how the driving was.
He said that he had no problems and even crossing the border was a breeze. I then asked how long it took him to make the trip. He said it took about 6 1/2 hours to get there but coming back he made it in less than five: hence the smirk on his face.
Since Ogunquit is approximately 509 km or 316 miles from Montréal (thank you MapQuest.com and ScienceMadeSimple.com), driving at the speed limit, assuming that he was the only car on the road and that there were no red lights stop signs or any other reasons to stop, it should have taken Peter at least five hours and nine minutes to make the trip. Coming back in less than five meant that he either flew through the border and all red lights and stop signs or was seriously breaking the speed limit on the way home.
He did admit to driving along at about 130 km/h or sometimes even 140, but justified it by saying that the speed limits in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are all higher than they are here. For what it’s worth, that’s true. The speed limit in all of those states can be as high as 65 mph on the interstates. 65 mph however converts to 104.61 km/h, nowhere near the 130 or 140 that Peter was using for his cruising.
His second line of defense was that he was actually just going with the flow and traveling no faster than anybody else on the highway. When cross-examined, he admitted that what he actually meant was that he was traveling at about the fastest speed of anybody going on the highway but may not have been the actual fastest man on the road. He figured that if the people ahead of them were caught that he would probably get away with it.
What Peter failed to realize is that in most cases police officers now work in teams with one officer handling the radar or laser duties and radioing ahead to one or more squad cars that there are speeders on the way. This tag-team approach makes it much easier to catch more than one speeder at a time.
Claiming that you are just going with the flow is not considered a defense to speeding here or in the United States. Since the police can’t catch everybody, those they do catch must pay the price.
Peter did admit that he saw a few cops on the road but was lucky enough to slam on his brakes and slow down before he was caught. Little did he realize that lighting your brake lights for no apparent reason, other than the fact that there is a police officer in the area, is an indication to police that you were probably doing something wrong. This may trigger special attention by the police who would keep an eye on you for several kilometres to make sure that you drive safely and legally.
Peter may not have received a ticket this time, but if he continues to drive in this manner he certainly will when the cops and the law of averages catches up with him.