21 June 2014

driving too slow

I began my drive to Sunny Ski Town yesterday right in the middle of Friday rush hour. Oops. 

The radio told me that all the highways were backed up for miles, so I took one of the major east-west roads out of town. It was crowded, but not terrible.

After it turned into one lane in each direction, getting toward the suburbs, I passed a police officer on a motorcycle. I didn't think much of it when he pulled out behind me, because the whole line of cars was going about 29 mph in a 35 zone. I just assumed that police have to go places, too.

I looked in my rear-view mirror a few times, but he was just driving along behind me, and we were all going even slower now.

Then suddenly I heard a quick whoop of the siren. 

I pulled over, obviously, assuming that he wanted to get past the long line of cars to the location up ahead of us where I could see police lights.*

He pulled up next to me (oh, hey! now the police officer who just made me pull over is talking to me!) and said, "Sorry. I thought I had both lights on."

"Okay...?" I said, confused, as he kept going.

Then he flipped on the red and blues and I saw what he meant, that he had turned on only his headlight when he meant to turn on both his headlight and the lights that tell you to pull over. 

I would have pulled over a lot sooner if I had seen the red and blues. I was, in fact, paying attention.

The guy in front of me was not. 

The car in front of me (now in front of the officer) did not pull over. The car in front of that did, but the one immediately in front of the officer just stayed in the lane. The officer whooped the siren a few more times and pointed to the side of the road. The driver pointed at something ahead, and the officer shook his head and pointed again at the side of the road.

Eventually they both pulled off and as far as I could see them in my rear-view mirror, the officer was at the window of the car. 

I can't actually figure out why he pulled that guy over, either, given the whole 29 mph thing.

* Notice that I did not assume that the officer intended to pull me over. This is the brilliant thing about being (mostly) law-abiding: I never rarely have to worry about that. 

I suppose that he could be pulling me over to tell me that I had a light out or something, but what could he do, really? Give me a ticket for driving too slow? with the speed of traffic? My heart didn't even flip over. I was quite proud to notice that I was exactly as calm during and after interacting with the officer as I was driving down the road without him around.

I still haven't been pulled over in this country while I was driving. (By which I mean that no police officer in this country has directed me to pull over for the sake of discussing my driving and/or vehicle with me. Obviously I have pulled over to allow many a police car/ambulance/fire truck to pass me. Also I have been stopped by the police/checkpoints many times in Africa. Also I have been in the car while other people got pulled over for the sake of discussing their driving and/or vehicle with them. Which makes me think I should do a series on that. They have all been very interesting. No standard speeding tickets.)

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