5 Excuses Proven to Get Drivers Out of Traffic Tickets

Driver thinking of excuse for ticket
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com

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.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.