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May 07, 2021

Are you going to bother fighting that traffic ticket?

While many drivers instinctively want to "beat the system" after being pulled over, the odds are against you.

"But, officer, I didn’t see the sign!" ranks as the the top excuse in a recent survey of explanations drivers give when stopped by police. Not that it generally gets them anywhere.

Being lost and being "unaware" of car equipment failure are also among the typical excuses drivers offer when pulled over for a potential ticket.

Among people who admit they've tried a line or two during a traffic stop, the most common include:

  1. I couldn’t see the sign telling me not to do it – 20%
  2. I’m lost and unfamiliar with the roads – 15%
  3. I didn’t know it was broken — 12%.
  4. Everyone else was doing it — 6%.
  5. I’m having an emergency situation in my car — 5%
  6. I missed my turn/exit — 5%
  7. I had to go to the bathroom — 5%
  8. I didn’t do anything dangerous — 4%
  9. I was on my way to an emergency — 4%
  10. My GPS said it was the right thing to do — 2%.

Chances are though the police officer in question won't be dissuaded by your doe-eyed pleas. And that means you're faced with a fine, increased insurance premiums and demerit points on your driving record.

Of course, with the average ticket in Ontario clocking in at about $262, you may want to take things further by heading to court. If you're lucky, you might be offered a reduced fine and/or a demerit points reduction without needing to say a word.

For the uninitiated, here's a good tutorial outlining your options and your odds.

Have you ever fought a traffic ticket? Were you successful? What was your strategy?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...