During my initial months of living in Lake Jackson, it didn’t take me long to notice that most people around here drive the speed limit. In fact, I often found myself driving behind cars that would stay about five miles below any given speed limit. In past experiences, I had learned that cops don’t usually pull you over unless you exceed the speed limit by over 10 miles, so I often find myself making sure I never drive more than nine miles over the speed limit.
This has worked for me quite well up to this point in my life. Since the time I got my driver’s licence at the age of 18 until this year, I had not ever been pulled over by a police car. My driving record is completely clear of any violation of any kind. For all accounts, I am a safe driver.
A couple weeks ago, I was driving down a particular stretch of straight road where the speed limit is 35mph. I often found myself pushing 10 miles past this speed limit because it was so easy to do. It looks like a road that should have a higher speed limit. I think the main reason that it is at 35 mph is because one of Lake Jackson’s public schools has a huge field that ends right at the edge of this road.
This particular day I was feeling a little more exhausted than usual and I was heading home to get my kids’ fed and put them down for their afternoon nap. I vaguely noticed there a cop behind me as I pulled up to a red stop light and signaled that I would turn left onto the next road. As I turned, the police car followed me and now his lights were blinking.
My foggy brain thought, “Interesting, I wonder why he has all his lights blinking like that?”
I kept driving down the road.
It took me a few minutes to realize that the police car was not driving around me, and that it was making some strange honking noises. Could it be that he was trying to get my attention? Then I tried to figure out what I was supposed to do next. I had never been pulled over before and the road I was on didn’t have a shoulder. Finally, I turned down a side street and pulled to a stop at the curb.
The police officer stopped behind me. As he stepped out of his vehicle and came toward the driver’s side of the car, I tried to calm my beating heart.
“Good morning, officer,” I said, smiling and rolling down my window.
“Licence and registration please.”
I fumbled for the two items and handing them to him. Meanwhile, he explained to me that he had pulled me over because he had clocked me at 44 mph on a road with a 35mph limit.
As the policeman returned to his vehicle, I could hear Jared in the back seat asking, “What are we doing here, Mommy? Why are we not driving home?”
In my best teacher’s voice, I explained to Jared that this is what happens when you drive too fast. The police man has the right to pull you over and tell you to slow down. He can also give you a peice of paper to help remind you not to do it again (a ticket). Fortunately for me, he decided to let me go with a warning.
A great feeling of gratitude swept over me as I pulled away and finished the drive home. It was my first experience being pulled over by a police man and I hope it will be my last. I think from now on, I will stick to following the slow cars and not try to push the speed limit. At least…not when I’m in Lake Jackson. After all, there are limits.