But, officer…I didn't see the sign! Chances are all traffic cops have heard that, as it's the top excuse in Insurance.com's new survey of explanations drivers give when stopped by an officer.
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Failing to notice a roadside sign isn't the only excuse that revolves around the driver's unfortunate "lack of information." Being lost and being unaware of car equipment failure are also among the most common replies drivers give to police when pulled over for a potential ticket, according to the Insurance.com "Ticketmasters" survey.
Among people who say they have used excuses during a traffic stop, here's how explanations break down:
1. I couldn't see the sign telling me not to do it: 20. 4%
2. I'm lost and unfamiliar with the roads: 15.6%
3. I didn't know it was broken: 12.4%
4. Everyone else was doing it: 6.4%
5. I'm having an emergency situation in my car. (For instance, spilled a hot drink on your lap.):5.4%
6. I missed my turn/exit: 4.8%
7. I had to go to the bathroom: 4.6%
8. I didn't do anything dangerous: 4.2%
9. I was on my way to an emergency. (For example, to help someone who is ill or injured.): 4%
10. My GPS said it was the right thing to do. -- 2.2%
11. I'm just helping out; I wasn't even supposed to be driving. (For example, your friend is intoxicated.): 2%
Men vs. women
When it comes to men rationalizing risky actions behind the wheel, most blame their own altruism - "I'm just helping out. I wasn't even supposed to be driving!" - and GPS devotion - "My GPS said it was the right thing to do." (See chart below.)
Not so for women. Only 10% of people who said they were "just helping out" were female, according to survey results, compared to 90% for males.
Or consider this: of drivers who said they were following GPS directions when pulled over, 82% were men, compared to just 18% of women.
The top excuses for women include being lost and having to go to the bathroom. 65% of people who used those two excuses were women, compared to 35% of men.
Here are the survey results broken down by gender:
Keep on truckin: How much tickets raise car insurance rates
If your excuses don't work and you get a ticket, your car insurance rates are likely to increase. Insurance.com's Uh-Oh! Calculator will tell you the average rate increases for 14 common traffic violations.
Insurance.com commissioned a survey of 500 licensed drivers age 18 and over. The survey was fielded in February 2013.
The original article can be found at Insurance.com:Ticketmasters: Top excuses given to police officers