If you’ve had a few drinks or have some weed in the car, here are
some careless things to avoid. It could save you a trip to jail.
1. Speeding– Nothing is more likely to get you pulled over than speeding. I can’t overstate how many DWI and Possession of Marijuana cases start with a traffic stop for driving too fast. Once the officer is at your car window, the smell of alcohol or marijuana combined with your appearance make you an easy target for arrest. Always, ALWAYS watch your speed.
2. Driving without headlights at night– When you’re leaving a bar or restaurant in the city, the streets are often well-lit enough that it may not occur to you to turn on your lights. If other drivers are flashing their lights at you, be sure to check your own.
3. Driving without seatbelt fastened– This one usually happens in the daytime. You may not think officers would make a traffic stop for this alone, but the author has been popped for this twice in recent history, even once early in the morning on the way to court.
4. Overdue inspection or car registration– This one is as simple and avoidable as they come. The trouble is it’s on your windshield, facing out, so the police can see it better than you. Keep in mind that police can check your registration by simply running your license plate.
5. Wrong way on a one-way– This is a killer in Austin, even if you live here (and something to watch when you’re in an unfamiliar city). Downtown areas and college campuses are full of crazy one-way streets. Don’t be distracted by your booming stereo, which brings us to #6…
6. Car stereo too loud– Doesn’t matter if you’re driving or parked, if your stereo thumps, you want to keep your windows up or you‘re asking for police attention. And no, it doesn’t matter if you listen to rap or bad country, city ordinances just prohibit it being played too looooouuuud!!
7. Defective Equipment– Includes the obvious driving with a headlight out, as well as overlooked things like taillights or brake lights. Even less obvious, you may not even realize there’s a light for your license plate. If any of them are out, you may find other lights behind you.
8. License plate covers– Most people don’t realize that Texas law prohibits anything that “obstructs” your license plate, and how loosely that word is interpreted. Most common are those school alumni license frames that barely obstruct words along the edge. Not likely to entice a stop unless cops just feel you’re suspicious and have no other reason to pull you over. Swallow your school pride and get a sticker.
9. Failure to signal a turn or lane change– You see it all day every day, but if you do it at night you’re asking for a traffic stop. Another example of one that probably doesn’t amount to much unless you’re already under suspicion for weaving or having your stereo up too loud. And if you turn on your signal after you’re at the intersection, well, that’s an offense too. Who woulda thought?
10. Window tint too dark– Yes, there is a law about how deep and dark your tint can be. Here’s the logic: If the police can’t see what you’re doing in your car, they may pull you over to see what you’re doing in your car.