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Old 06-18-2010, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Midwest
238 posts, read 617,357 times
Reputation: 180

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Hi all,

Originally from MD but moved down to VA a little over a year ago so please forgive my ignorance.

My situation is that I was turning onto Chain Bridge Rd (Oakton) from a development and following my GPS towards I-66 at around 11pm on a weeknight. I put my blinker on and merged in front of the vehicle, which turned out to be a police officer, so I could take the 66 exit. The officer pretty much immediately lit me up and wrote me a ticket for unsafe lane change. He claims that I did not use a blinker to merge, in fact he stated that I turned on my blinker after I had already merged, and this was the reason for the ticket. (Didn't cut the officer off nor was I speeding.)

Now... I have two types of indicators on my car: first I can firmly press the stick and it will continue to blink until the turn is complete or the second type which is a soft tap and it blinks 3 times quickly before turning off. I used the second type of blinker and I do not believe the officer saw it as by the time my car was entering the lane it had probably gone off. No other vehicles on the road at the time and the officer seemed REALLY aggitated when he walked up to my vehicle. I think he was just having a bad night...

Sparing you guys from further details, just wondering if I should even bother fighting this in court? Getting a lawyer doesn't make sense to fight a $92 fine, especially when I have a good record. To be honest, I don't even care about the fine...just the 4 points.

May consider using a permanent address in MD and getting another MD license so I don't have to worry about points... (I was told by the MVA that only major violations are translated over to MD like wreckless or DUI.) I can 100% understand being pulled over for speeding, running lights, not yeilding to pedestrians, etc. but I never expected to be pulled over for an indicator issue at 11p. Are officers always this particular?

Thoughts?
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,104,931 times
Reputation: 6826
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pequeño_Bonsai View Post
Now... I have two types of indicators on my car: first I can firmly press the stick and it will continue to blink until the turn is complete or the second type which is a soft tap and it blinks 3 times quickly before turning off. I used the second type of blinker
Am I being hopelessly old fashioned in thinking cars might be getting a bit too complicated when they have turn signal options?
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Midwest
238 posts, read 617,357 times
Reputation: 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Am I being hopelessly old fashioned in thinking cars might be getting a bit too complicated when they have turn signal options?
Have you seen the vehicles that will parallel park for you? ;-)
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:07 PM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,964,161 times
Reputation: 1289
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Am I being hopelessly old fashioned in thinking cars might be getting a bit too complicated when they have turn signal options?
My reaction too! Maybe your situation is an example of why this isn't the best feature to have on a car, though can't blame you for using it since it's there.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:36 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,901,514 times
Reputation: 3774
You probably cut him off...in typical Maryland fashion. Those are kind of tickets cops write when you startle or tick them off...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pequeño_Bonsai View Post
....May consider using a permanent address in MD and getting another MD license so I don't have to worry about points... (I was told by the MVA that only major violations are translated over to MD like wreckless or DUI.) I can 100% understand being pulled over for speeding, running lights, not yeilding to pedestrians, etc. but I never expected to be pulled over for an indicator issue at 11p. Are officers always this particular?

Thoughts?

That doesn't work. A State does not suspend your license per se, they suspend your "privilege to drive" in THAT State. If your privileges are suspended in a State...having a valid license from another State doesn't help, it is still illegal for you to drive in a State in which you have been suspended. That trick may have worked years ago...before computers in cop cars, but not any more.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
5,188 posts, read 13,370,726 times
Reputation: 7369
NoVa drivers are notorious for not allowing someone to "merge"...even the police! Next time, use the REAL blinker...not that 3-blink thing! (yes, my car has that, too!)
Pay the ticket...and be done with it.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,831 posts, read 26,440,048 times
Reputation: 6902
You can fight the ticket to see if they will reduce the points, or dismiss it entirely. How is the GPS involved, save to say that you were distracted? If so, you may have started to drift prior to the signal being engaged. It does sound as though the position of the police vehicle, or its speed was miscalculated, since that's not a very common ticket for Oakton at 11pm. The officer may have thought you were impaired, hence why you were pulled over.

I have cars with the quick blink feature, and it's useful in very limited situations. The bad news is Ford is now introducing it as a "feature," on some new models because market research showed motorists were bewildered by people who leave on a turn signal.

If you have an otherwise safe driving record, I would go to court and fight the ticket, as you may get a reduction in fine or points.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Midwest
238 posts, read 617,357 times
Reputation: 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
You probably cut him off...in typical Maryland fashion. Those are kind of tickets cops write when you startle or tick them off...
*laughs* I didn't think MD drivers were that bad... :-) I would have actually preferred that to be the reason why I received a ticket but the cop didn't mention me cutting him off at all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
That doesn't work. A State does not suspend your license per se, they suspend your "privilege to drive" in THAT State. If your privileges are suspended in a State...having a valid license from another State doesn't help, it is still illegal for you to drive in a State in which you have been suspended. That trick may have worked years ago...before computers in cop cars, but not any more.
I am nowhere near license suspension as this is my first offense and don't plan on being pulled over anytime in the near future. (I think you have to have 18 points in VA before they will suspend your license anyway.) However, given the state's reputation and stories from my friends, I would like to be on the safe side so my insurance will not be further impacted. I will have to perform a little more research and chat with the two states.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:43 PM
 
1,339 posts, read 2,971,532 times
Reputation: 2220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pequeño_Bonsai View Post

Now... I have two types of indicators on my car: first I can firmly press the stick and it will continue to blink until the turn is complete or the second type which is a soft tap and it blinks 3 times quickly before turning off. I used the second type of blinker and I do not believe the officer saw it as by the time my car was entering the lane it had probably gone off.
Ideally, before switching lanes, you are supposed to:
1. make sure there is no one in the lane in which you are changing or there is sufficient distance between the car that's in that lane.
2. you switch the indicator so you signal your intent to the car in that lane, so that car doesn't accelerate or the car immediately behind is aware of your intention.
3. make the actual lane change with the indicator still blinking
4. complete the lane change and then turn off the indicator

My point is that it takes more than 3 blinks to do steps #1 through #4 above. The 3 blinks will probably suffice if you are only doing #3, in which case the cop can ticket you because at that point you are saying, "I have made up my mind about changing lanes, and I am changing it right now." In the cop's mind, you have created an unsafe condition by not giving any time for other drivers to react.

I didn't think anyone got ticketed for the short blink. The cop should be ticketing those who are listening to MP3 players with headphones or texting while driving rather than drivers like you!
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