When I was in high school, I was pulled over and given a ticket for making a lane change on a 3 lane highway from lane 1 to lane 3 without pausing in lane 2.
When I tell the story like that, it sounds so tame. Sort of a silly sounding ticket actually – like the cop had a quota to meet and just had to find a reason to give me the ticket.
Now for the rest of the story…
I was driving from northwest Houston to Galveston Island, about 70 miles down the highway. Early on, I noticed a taupe-beige-brown-whatever color car following me as I was speeding along. Oh, yes, I was speeding. He stuck with me for probably 50 miles.
Right after I crossed over the Causeway on to Galveston Island, he put the police light up in his window and pulled me over.
CRAP. What the hell took him so long to pull me over? I mean, we had been zooming down the highway forever.
Turns out that he was State Highway Patrol, and he didn’t have a radar gun in his car to formally clock my speed. He knew I was speeding because he had been pacing me down the highway – but back in 1987, he couldn’t ticket someone in Texas just by pacing them, you had to have the radar gun. He could, however, nab me for that illegal lane change – failing to pause – and ticket me for that.
Right as he pulled me over, two local police cars pulled up. They had us clear out of the car so that they could look through it for drugs, etc. As we stood at the back of the car, I heard one policeman tell another, “I found a stem.” We had no drugs in the car, and the car was my dad’s. What the hell??? The other policeman went over to look, “Oh, that is an apple stem” as he threw it in the grass. Instant relief.
As I stood at the back of the car, the highway patrol officer handed me my ticket. While he explained it all to me, the fact that he couldn’t ticket me for speeding, what my speed had been, what he was ticketing me for… he started to chuckle.
It turned out that in the hour or so that he had followed me, across Houston in late morning traffic, I had made TWENTY-THREE lane changes … and he commended me for using my turn signal on every single one of them. As he laughed. I couldn’t help but laugh as well.
If we’re going to be BFFs, you should know that to this day, I still use my turn signal for every lane change I make and every corner I turn. You never know when doing that might make a patrol officer laugh, after all. (Who knows, maybe it has spared me a few other speeding tickets!)
PS – the photograph above was taken yesterday when Stephanie & I drove to Drumheller in Alberta, Canada. It is the Dinosaur Capital of the World and that is the World’s Largest Dinosaur. It was a fabulous day trip!
PS PS – the look on the dinosaur’s face? Like it wants to bite your head off? That is how I feel when people don’t use their turn signals! It is the magic stick on the left side of the steering wheel – try it out sometime!
Things You Should Know Thursdays was inspired by a Vivid & Brave journaling prompt that our Business coaching clients do – “Things you should know if we’re going to be BFFs”. If you share a thing I should know about you, be sure to come back here and leave a comment so I can link to you too! The hashtag for social media is #TYSKT.