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Oct 26, 2009

Very strange interaction with the police

I got a ticket the other day. First time in like 10 years. I was driving to Bnei Brak for a wedding, and nearly missed the turn up to Givat Shmuel - Bnei Brak. There is no sign warning of the impending highway exit. It just happens with a sign at the exit itself.

So, I see the sign at the exit and swing in. It seems that is a fairly common spot for things like this to happen and the police lay there in wait and grab offending drivers. My crime was not waiting in line but cutting into traffic ahead of other cars in the lane. I didn't even know this was illegal - I thought as long as you cross a dotted line it is legal - I signalled with my blinker and cut in. And my second crime was crossing a bold line. I didn't think I did - I thought I cut in before the bold line appeared, as I cut in as soon as I saw the sign for the turn, but maybe I just missed it.

Anyway, the cop pulls me over and she tells me what i did wrong. I am not one to argue about these things. She asks me what I have to say for myself, where I was going, and if I am in a rush. I said I am on my way to a wedding in Bnei Brak, but I am not in a rush. I found out later she was a bit disappointed by that answer, as if I had said I was in a rush it would have been an admission of guilt - I am in a rush so I cut in. But I wasn't in a rush, just only saw the sign at the last minute. If not in a rush, a driver is less likely to do the crimes she was stopping me for.

Anyway, she thought for a minute and then the funniest exchange took place between a driver and a cop.

She started negotiating with me whats he would write me up for. She was basically negotiating with herself, as I am horrible at that kind of stuff - talking my way out of tickets and the like, but it was still funny. She started weighing all the options of what she could throw at me, and what the ramifications would be. She in the end decided to write me up for only one of the transgressions, not both, and told me what I have to do to get it converted to a warning, considering I have not had a ticket in 10 years or so. She told me not to pay the ticket, but to copy it and mail it to the the Traffic Office of the police and request they convert it to a warning because I am not from the area and was unfamiliar with the roads, etc.

The fact that she started negotiating with me what she would write me up for was humorous and a bit surreal. I guess she expected me to start arguing, and had prepared for that by mentioning the worst she could do, but she had not actually planned on doing it, considering I was a nice guy (I even held her flashlight for her so she could see while she wrote me up). Very strange, but there must be a lesson in the incident somewhere, aside form don't cross bold lines and don't cut into traffic..

8 comments:

  1. You've always had a way with the ladies....

    Seriously, thanks for the tips. I didn't know that "weasling" in line was illegal, and it never occurred to me that admitting you're in a rush could be a bad thing. Also, the mailing in the ticket and asking for a warning is golden.

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  2. I was surprised too by that revelation. She simply asked if I am in a rush to get somewhere. I said no - I am on my way to a wedding but not in a rush. I didnt realize it was good or bad, but I responded with the truth. I wasnt speeding. I wasnt in a rush. But because I said that, I realized afterwords it made her job more difficult because she had to accept my excuse that I simply saw the sign too late.

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  3. The best way to wrong-foot an Israeli who is winding up for an argument is to say "you're right, I'm sorry" or fail to argue with them. It really takes them by surprise, and seems to make them go easy on us. I've heard this from other olim several times.
    One time I was pulled over by a traffic cop, and she was quite amused by my apologies, shaking and general 'fear' of her and of getting caught, and she let me off with a warning and a smile.

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  4. I accidentally ran a red light near the malcha mall because i was behind a big bus and just followed him (it was a very short light) right after i gave birth to my second daughter.

    A cop pulled me over and threatened to take my car right there! I started crying hysterically pointed to the baby and said i had no one to pick me up.

    He let me go. with no ticket. Also, so strange.

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  5. That's so Israeli. Let them satisfy their need to be super-powerful and then they can let all the pretense go.

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  6. What's really strange Rafi, is that there used to be a HUGE yellow sign on the overpass before the exit, informing drivers that the exit itself was not to be used on Shabbat because of Kavod Shabbat.
    Guess they took it down...

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  7. I think there is still such a sign (I dont remember exactly what it says but something like that), but it does not say the turn is imminent or indicate that at that point you need to be in the right lane. The only actual turning sign is right at the intersection itself.
    Unless there is another sign that I missed (it was nighttime and lots of traffic so maybe my view of a sign on the side had been obstructed.).

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  8. Thank you, tomorrow I have a court date for running a red light on Geha and while I was planning on telling the truth, asking for a warning since I am not from the area and I've never had a moving violation in about 20 years is something I will focus on.

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