I’ve had to attend traffic school so many times that I should have earned a degree by now. The reason being that my foot gets very heavy when I drive. I signal, I don’t weave in and out of traffic, and I don’t tail-gate. But, the foot is heavy.

Last Thanksgiving, The Watterson Expressway was empty of traffic. I was speeding. The limit is 55mph, but if you live in Louisville, you know that NOBODY does 55 on the Watterson. Everyone does 65mph. This means, if you are driving at 55mph, you are an obstacle that the other cars must avoid and get around.

I was doing 75mph, maybe 80mph. An officer pulled me over. I handed him my license and registration.

I said, “I know I was speeding, but I’m late to dinner with my family.”

He said, “I clocked you doing 15 miles over.” This was a friendly lie on his part. He had to clock me doing at least 75, which is 20 miles over, and it’s much more likely I was doing 80. (I didn’t see anyone around, so I was enjoying the nice vroom my Honda makes.)

But, my theory is that some cops here actually take into account the fact that the popular speed limit on the Watterson is 65mph even though the posted speed limit is 55.

I digress.

Back to my conversation with the officer.

He said, “There’s not much traffic out here today.” Was he testing my will power? It seemed as though he must be.

I almost bit my tongue completely off trying not to say something smart-assed to this cop who seemed likely to give me a break if I didn’t screw it up. But, it was so hard not to respond to that statement with something along these lines, “You’re right, sir. There’s not much traffic on the road. That’s why I was able to go so fast. Nothing to hinder me!”

I don’t know how I mustered the strength to resist that temptation, and yet somehow I did.

I avoided a ticket by keeping my mouth shut. But, keeping my mouth shut can take a lot out of me, and that day was exhausting.

Comments 2

  • 🙂

    Reminds me of a similar morning on the 520 floating bridge, heading into Seattle. The posted speed limit is 50, most people do 60 when it’s not backed up. At 6:00 am on a Saturday, with no traffic, I was driving north of 70, debating whether to take my Miata up to 100. Then the lights came on…

    There’s no shoulder, so I take the first exit off. I don’t know this area well, but do realize there’s no place to pull over. I drive slow, blinker on, hoping the officer knows I’m trying to be safe. What seems like 15 minutes later, I finally find a place to pull into.

    I stop, roll down the window and put my hands on the steering wheel, waiting. He pulls behind me as if to block me in. Uh, oh.

    He says I was speeding, and asks for the registration. I have a hard time finding the key hole for the glove compartment and I’m becoming more visibly nervous, a natural reaction to authority. He says I was doing 70 when the posted speed limit is 50. I almost say “at least” before thinking to myself “this would be a really good time to shut the fuck up, Jim” and trying to conjure images that would make me feel repentant.

    He goes back to his car for a few minutes, letting my imagination ramble on: “what’s the cutoff at which they just impound you?” “I’m in a red sports car, it’s a mandatory ticket.” “Great, tuition payment or ticket.” etc.

    He hands me back my documents and says something like “Speed limit’s 50. 60 is okay, but not 70. Slow down.” before leaving.

    Like you, I was very tired the rest of the day.

  • Well I am one of the few crazy people that does follow the speed limit. If it is 55 mph I do 60 mph. I do not have the money to pay for $80 to $100 tickets. Louisville seems not to pay attention to the speed limit that is for sure. In Indiana, where I know drive to work is differant. I see at least two police cars, some unmarked, giving out tickets in the morning and in the evening. It is fun to see someone get a ticket who had to make a big deal passing you. I almost want to wave at them when I pass by. Slow down Debbie and enjoy the scenery.

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