If you don't want a traffic stop to cost you serious money, speak up! But what you say had better be good. These excuses worked for others -- and some were even true.
I'm late for a funeral
While driving to her grandfather's funeral, Karen Green of Portland, Ore., got lost -- twice.
"I was running late and was speeding to try to make up time when I was pulled over," she says. "I told the officer that I'd driven for four hours and was risking missing my grandpa's service because of getting lost."
Green also told him that she realized it was still not right to speed. "The officer told me I was lucky because he knew my story was true: He'd been one of the responding officers when my aunt called the authorities right after my grandfather passed away."
I'm such a clown
Barbilee Hemmings, aka Bubbles the Clown, was cruising along at 50 mph in a school zone on a school day when kids were present. As luck would have it, the Edmonton, Alberta, resident had left her license in her "real" pants.
"I was in full makeup, colored hair and baggy pants, so when the officer walked up to my window, I stuck my head out and in my loudest 'Bubbles' voice said, 'Of course you can have a balloon animal, officer. Do you want a doggy or an airplane or a butterfly?'" Once he was able to compose himself and stop laughing, the cop let Bubbles go with a warning.
I'm a woman of few words
Seif-Eldeine Och in Shrewsbury, Mass., says she has been pulled over 43 times in eight years, and has walked away 39 times ticket-free.
"Whenever an officer asks, 'Do you know what you did wrong?' I promptly reply, 'Yes, officer, I was speeding and I'm sorry.'" Och never adds any details or offers excuses unless the officer asks for more information. "Less is definitely more."
I'm going to wet my pants
She was within a mile of her Fredericksburg, Va., house when Victoria Bors felt an urgent call of nature. She was preoccupied with getting home quickly, and it took a minute for her to notice the cop's lights flashing in her rearview mirror.
"By the time the officer peered into my window, I was desperately trying to keep from squirming in my seat," she recalls. That's when Bors' 14-year-old daughter called out from the back, "She has to go to the bathroom!"
"My 7-year-old echoed, 'She really has to go to the bathroom!'" When the officer asked if the story was true, a red-faced Bors answered sheepishly, "Yes."
"I told him we were just two subdivisions away while lightly bouncing in my seat. Stepping away from the car and chuckling, he waved me on and told me to 'be careful,'" she says.
I feel awful -- just look at me
"I was [going] about 7 or 8 miles over the limit when I was pulled over," says Donna Maurillo of Scotts Valley, Calif. "I had bronchitis at the time, and as I pulled out my driver's license, I suddenly had a coughing fit. When I finally caught my breath, I handed the license to the officer. He stepped back and said, 'Never mind.'"
I was being sympathetic
Anne McDermott was talking on her cell phone while driving in Syracuse, N.Y., when a county sheriff stopped her.
"I was talking to a friend but told the officer the caller was my sister who was inconsolable because she had just put her dog to sleep."
The story was true -- sort of. "She did put her dog to sleep, but months earlier," admits McDermott.
It turns out McDermott had spotted animal fur on the sheriff's uniform and gambled that he was a pet owner. "After a warning, he let me go," she says.
I'm not the only guilty party
Dan Johnson (not his real name) of Grand Rapids, Mich., was stopped because his license plate was not illuminated.
"The officer asked if I knew that the light was out that should be illuminating the plate and I said that I never really walked around my car while it was running, but that I would make it a point to get it fixed the following day."
Then Johnson started chuckling as he looked in his rearview mirror.
"When the officer leaned over and asked, 'What's so funny now?' I pointed to my rearview mirror and asked the officer if he knew he had a headlight out!" Johnson was sent on his way with a "You have a nice evening," from the officer.
The music made me do it
Mary Babish was keeping the beat of the classic rock blaring from her car's speakers by speeding along a country road in Iowa.
"When I was stopped, I quickly admitted to speeding, but explained that you can't drive slow to Aerosmith."
Luckily, the officer was a fan and let Babish off with a warning.
I'm married to a cop
Lorna Derby's last name got her out of a ticket in Arlington Heights, Ill.
"I blew past a cop when I ran a red light," she says. When she handed over her driver's license to the officer, Derby told him that she was married to a local cop.
"I hoped he'd let the family member of one of his own go."
Name-dropping helped, and she escaped with a warning.
"Then I had to call my brother and explain that I was now his wife, not his sister!"