5 Excuses Proven to Get Drivers Out of Traffic Tickets

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Driver thinking of excuse for ticket
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Excuses rarely work in life. But there are exceptions to the rule, and they can save you from a world of trouble.

For example, the next time a cop stops you while driving, try uttering the excuse, “I didn’t know I was speeding.” About 26% of the time, this can get you out of a ticket, according to CarInsurance.com’s third annual “Caught Speeding” survey of 1,000 drivers’ habits.

Overall, excuses probably work better than you think when faced with the possibility of a ticket. Almost 50% of survey respondents say using an excuse with a police officer helped avoid a ticket. That’s nearly double the success rate reported in 2020.

The five most successful excuses are:

  • I didn’t know I was speeding — 26%
  • Medical emergency — 25%
  • Everyone else was going the same speed — 22%
  • Late for work — 21%
  • I had to use the bathroom — 20%

It probably helps when the excuse also happens to be true, and those trying to justify their bad driving behaviors appear to be increasingly honest.

In a press release, Les Masterson, managing editor for CarInsurance.com, said only 12% of survey respondents lied when giving excuses this year, compared with almost 33% last year.

Other excuses were less successful, but still helped at least some drivers avoid a citation. They include:

  • Late for an interview — 16%
  • Late to pick up or drop my child off — 15%
  • I didn’t see the sign — 14%
  • Late for court appointment — 13%
  • Late for doctor appointment — 13%
  • Late to meet friends — 12%
  • I’m bringing home hot food and didn’t want it to get cold — 11%
  • Late to meet partner, husband or wife — 11%
  • Late for a date — 10%
  • Late for a funeral — 10%
  • Late for concert, performance, sporting event, dinner reservation — 9%

The survey found that men and younger drivers are more likely to offer up excuses when faced with a speeding ticket. A large group of women — 69% — said they never have offered an excuse, compared to 43% of men.

What should you do if your excuse falls flat? Ask for a warning instead of a ticket.

Among those surveyed, 36% requested a warning, with police granting nearly half of those requests. That success rate is up from both 2019 and 2020, when 41% of drivers who asked for a warning got one.

Certain types of tickets can cause your car insurance rates to soar. For more, check out “The 10 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate.”