We’ve all experienced it at one time or another: that sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs, as the red and blue flashing lights in our rearview mirror. And it’s usually followed by the thought of what we could or should have done. So, to help you avoid getting pulled over by police, we’ve compiled a few tips to keep in mind. They come from Mike Brucks, a recently retired traffic cop who wrote an estimated 40,000 tickets in his 22-year career!

  • Do cops go after every speeder they see – or do they let some people off the hook? Brucks says he rarely stopped drivers unless they were at least 20 miles per hour OVER the speed limit. That’s because most cops put safety first. Meaning, if you’re driving on a clear road, and you’re not doing anything unusual that could cause a crash, even if you’re going 10 miles over the limit, you probably won’t be pulled over. But if you’re whizzing by lots of other cars on a busy road, then you’ll get a ticket!

  • There are some traffic infractions that are more likely to get you pulled over, like running red lights, driving without a seatbelt, or driving while texting. Brucks says those are much more likely to earn a ticket than driving with expired plates. Why? Because expired plates won’t potentially kill someone!

  • What’s a traffic cop’s favorite place to hide and catch speeders? Our expert says he liked to hide on highways – preferably under bridges, and away from exits. That’s because it’s harder to catch speeders if there’s an exit close by, where they can quickly leave the freeway and blend in with other cars.

  • When’s the ideal time for catching speeders? Our expert says on weekend nights. Because on weekdays, most people are just rushing to get to work, so they may only go a few miles per hour over the speed limit. But on weekend nights, that’s where Brucks ticketed what he calls the “100 Miles Per Hour Club.” Those are people who think they can get away with speeding just because there’s less traffic on the road.

  • Is there something you can say to get out of a speeding ticket? Not really. Brucks says he’s made exceptions for people who were racing to see a family member in the hospital. But if you’re not being safe, then you need to slow down – otherwise, 99% of the time you will get a ticket.

One final way to avoid getting pulled over? Drive the speed limit and obey all traffic laws, which are put in place to keep us safe on the road anyway.