Monday 27 February 2012

Blue Lights

This photo was posted on a forum I’m a member of today. If you’ve been driving a modified car for any length of time, the situation may look familiar. Even at this point, all is not lost. Remain calm, put down your beer and remember these few tips:

-          If you have a New Old Stock time machine installed in the glove box, you may want to travel back a few minutes and see if you can spot the reason you’ve been pulled over. Doing skids in a school zone will get you noticed even in a white Camry, but bear in mind that muscle cars stand out even before you pull full-noise in second gear leaving the traffic lights. Many people drive 6/71 blown street cars and never receive police attention by driving sensibly and avoiding hot-spots like the local Macca’s hangout. This advice is more important than all the points below. Do all you can to avoid the interaction in the first place.

-          On this topic, a great way to avoid being pinged is by keeping the simple things in order. Sure, your Torana is  too low and too loud and has a V8 conversion that really should have a mod plate, but that’s the way you like it and you might be prepared to take the risk. Don’t compound this by dumb stuff like running around on bald tyres.

-          Don’t look any more dodgy than you already do. Nothing will get you pulled over faster than turning left to avoid an RBT line or locking up the brakes when you see a police car in a side street. Reduce the revs, but carry on as normal. Cops are busy people – If you don’t give them a reason to be interested, they might pass you by.  

-          If they want you to stop, shut the car down immediately. Even if it’s a hard starter, as soon as you’ve stopped, kill the engine. It might not sound important, but every modified car looks more standard when you’re not shouting over the exhaust to the beat of a solid roller camshaft.

-          Be cool. Sure, the cops might be fascists in jackboots sent by a hostile government to keep modified car owners in check. They’ve ruined your night as well. But for the next 5 minutes they need to be your long lost friends. Smile, ask them how they’re going. Remember – they may well be people too.

-          Don’t argue. You might have been the Grade 9 debating champion, or even a Federal Court barrister, but you almost certainly don’t have a magic, witty response that will make the cop apologise and walk back to their car. If in doubt, smile and nod.

-          Don’t ever plead guilty. You’ll be asked “Is there any reason why you were speeding?” or “When did you lower this thing?” These will often feel like the time to explain yourself, to try to make things better. It probably won’t. Try to say nothing at all, while remaining polite and responsive. If the question directly asks if you broke the law, this is particularly important.

-          Realise that you may not win this one right now. Even if you believe that they’re unfair or unnecessary, laws about speeding and tyre width and suspension height and exhaust noise are just that – laws. The copper may have some discretion about letting you go with a warning, but they also might not. If they have the law wrong (and sometimes they do), the place to challenge their view is in court or in correspondence, not on the side of Parramatta Road.

1 comment: