Monday, November 27, 2006

Again!

Dang, I almost got another ticket today! This time I was coming back from the valley and was a few miles from Sisters when i passed a group of about 3 cars. It was snowy, but perfectly straight road and no oncoming traffic for quite a while. The snow was very cold and actually made for pretty good traction (relatively speaking).

As i was passing the cars, i noticed (too late) that the front car was a police SUV. It was all black and was marked as Black Butte Police, different than anything i'd seen before, so i didnt notice it. Plus there's so many SUVs and cars with roof racks around here that the lights didnt particularly stand out either.

He had the lights goin before i even got up alongside him. I went ahead and finished the pass then pulled over. I'm sure the other two cars i passed got a good chuckle out of it. The officer was not laughing though. He jumped out of his car as soon as we stopped, came right up to my window and said, "you're not very smart are you?!" Well, I didn't think there was an answer to that question that the two of us would agree on at that moment, so I decided to just keep my mouth shut. He then asked me if i knew why I wasn't very smart--again, my self-preservation instincts told me to keep my mouth shut. About this time, i noticed that the man's chin was quivering and his hands were shaking. He was so furious with me that he was physically trembling! He then told me that my actions qualified as reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor offense, and that he could arrest me and impound my vehicle.

It was at about that time that i decided to take the apologetic approach with the rest of this encounter, rather than try to contest his accusations or express my frustrations with speeding laws. Plus, he was much more justified in pulling me over than was the cop who got me on Saturday. I was exceeding the posted speed limit in conditions that were undeniably sub-optimal. Exactly how dangerous the conditions were is debatable, but i don't think he was being particularly unreasonable.

I explained that i make that trip frequently and that i've probably become jaded and callouse to the dangers it poses; that I've become accustomed to them, and probably don't take it as seriously as i should. He told me about how many people die on that highway each year, and that i'm the kind of person that takes out not only myself, but others too. I listened earnestly without protesting and he let me go. I was VERY relieved that he was not going to ticket me. It could have been a lot uglier than just a speeding ticket too.

Of course he was right. To what degree is arguable. I don't think i was being reckless, but i probably should try to slow down a little bit in the snow. The thing is, i go slow where i need to (curves, downhill, etc) but fast when it's safe to do so (long straights with good visibility). He freaked out because i was going 60 in the snow, but it was safe to do so there. Earlier in the drive i was doing 20 through sharp, snowy curves, because it was not safe to go faster there. Is that wrong? I dunno. I don't think that it is, but many seem to think that's not reasonable.

What do you think? Tell me what an ass I am for putting you in danger.

1 comment:

Burl said...

Damn the man!