So yes, the law of averages caught up to me, this evening.
What does that mean, exactly?
It means that my perfect driving record is history, because tonight I got a speeding ticket.
It’s not pretty. In fact, it was for 34km/h over the limit on Highway 401.
Quite simply, I wasn’t paying attention to my driving. I had been driving around 125km/h, which is pretty much the average speed on the highway, these days. My mind wandered, my speed crept up, and I caught.
When I saw the police car on the side of the road, I immediately braked, pulled into the slow lane, and continued to drive while watching my rearview mirror. The cruisr pulled onto the highway, came up behind me, and flashed its lights. Since I knew the score, I had already figured out a safe spot for us to pull over.
The officer was very nice about it. Told me how fast I was going, inquired about my driving record, and checked my license and registration. I told him the truth: I simply wasn’t paying attention and deserved exactly what I got. I got a ticket, and he got my thanks for showing leniency.
Because my actual speed was 144km/h.
The honest truth is that I could have escaped punishment if I’d cared to. Awhile back, someone pointed out to me that if you’re going as fast as I was, the police car probably can’t catch up before you’re way the heck down the road. And even if they do, they can’t identify your car with absolute certainty when it’s dark out. The suggestion is that you can either get away or insert enough doubt that the ticket can be contested.
When I saw the police car, I immediately slowed down and pulled into the right lane. I wasn’t about to make a run for it. As I slowed, an exit came up and it occurred to me that it would be really easy to swing in and get off the highway before the police officer was anywhere near me. That would have been an almost guaranteed escape.
But that’s not my style. Put aside the fact that I’d be resisting arrest, and would probably face jail time if I were caught. That never even occurred to me.
All that really matters is that I’d be running from my responsibilities. And I can’t do that. I refuse to do that.
I’m not proud of my lack of attention to driving or the ticket. But I am proud of my instinctive reaction to the situation. It’s good to know that when I’m put to the test, I acted exactly as I always thought I would.
So what now? Easy. I’ll pay the ticket. I’m not going to contest it, or offer up an excuse in the hope of getting it reduced. I’m not going to hire an ex-cop to defend me. I’m just going to pay the ticket.
And then I’m going to slow the heck down.
You might notice that this scatterthought doesn’t have a comment field. In this case, I don’t want any feedback. I don’t need any more scolding–that’s what the ticket is for–and I don’t deserve any sympathy. I’m just going to learn from my mistake and move on with life.
The truth is, we shouldn’t need consequences in order to correct our behaviour. That’s one of the things I don’t like about this world, which makes me feel foolish.
But it would be even more foolish if I learned nothing from this experience.
Hopefully you’ll get something out of it as well.