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To pass the unmarked cop or not?
Old 03-13-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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To pass the unmarked cop or not?

Common dilemma around these parts for me.

I'm no speed demon but often drive 5-7 over depending on what feels right at that time. Come upon an obvious unmarked police car... you know the LTD with the hand operated floodlight near driver's side door, five antennas, and uber Christmas tree lights mounted inside the rear window.

Do I pass it or not?

Sometimes they are going 42 in a 45 and I get this fear my speedometer is off. Plus I can't tell what their job is, for some reason I doubt a homicide or vice detective is going to pull me over for speeding hopefully they've got better stuff to do. For all I know it might be something further off like ATF or some other Fed that would have even less interest in some stupid Corolla passing them at 50 mph in a 45.

Arghhh.
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:49 PM   #2
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My suggestion is don't drive over the speed limit....
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:55 PM   #3
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Consider an entirely different strategy to see if you can't get the cop car to slow down and let you go by without speeding. Get right up on the car's bumper, lay on your horn, waive your middle finger and shout "GTF outta my way!!!".

That should do it...
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:56 PM   #4
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They do that because they like the power trip of seeing traffic backed up in the left lane for 5 miles..........
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Consider an entirely different strategy to see if you can't get the cop car to slow down and let you go by without speeding. Get right up on the car's bumper, lay on your horn, waive your middle finger and shout "GTF outta my way!!!".

That should do it...
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:05 PM   #6
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I usually pass slower moving police cars at EXACTLY the speed limit... not a mph over, according to my speedometer. Maybe I trust my speedometer too much!! But also, it has occurred to me that the policeman may have some other reason to be going slower so I don't really worry about it. Haven't been stopped yet for doing that.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:12 PM   #7
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I usually don't pass cops unless they're at least 5 MPH below the limit.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:18 PM   #8
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Drove across the flattest section of Nebraska years ago. There was a squad car going exactly the speed limit two cars ahead of me. Seemed like hundreds of miles, cars kept coming up to the front and then dropping back into line. There was no place to pull over to get out of the caravan. Nevada was a whole different story!
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:44 PM   #9
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I think it is generally safe to pass a cop car at between a few miles over the speed limit (certainly less than 5). Probably helps to have a Policeman benefactor ball bumper sticker on the vehicle though
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tiuxiu View Post
I'm no speed demon but often drive 5-7 over depending on what feels right at that time. Come upon an obvious unmarked police car... you know the LTD with the hand operated floodlight near driver's side door, five antennas, and uber Christmas tree lights mounted inside the rear window.

Do I pass it or not?
The more obvious that it is a police car, the more probable that at least part of its job is to stop traffic. Homicide guy will drive an unmarked car, maybe with a small light or maybe not. The vice guy is probably driving a beater Toyota with the "Visualize Whirled Peas" bumper sticker. About the only way he's going to have any interest in getting you stopped is if you run into him, or if your driving is so dangerous it's only a question of can he get you stopped before you kill someone.
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Consider an entirely different strategy to see if you can't get the cop car to slow down and let you go by without speeding. Get right up on the car's bumper, lay on your horn, waive your middle finger and shout "GTF outta my way!!!".
Highly recommended strategy. There's always a contest to try and top someone else's, "You wouldn't believe this guy I arrested last night", story.
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They do that because they like the power trip of seeing traffic backed up in the left lane for 5 miles..........
You are absolutely right. Feel better now?
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
I usually pass slower moving police cars at EXACTLY the speed limit... not a mph over, according to my speedometer. Maybe I trust my speedometer too much!! But also, it has occurred to me that the policeman may have some other reason to be going slower so I don't really worry about it. Haven't been stopped yet for doing that.
You are today's common sense award winner.
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Probably helps to have a Policeman benefactor ball bumper sticker on the vehicle though
Never been to a ball, but you would be amazed at how many people believe those stickers actually get them out of tickets. You would be even more astounded to know how many police officers are aware that drug traffickers think those stickers ward off the police as well. It's not quite probable cause for a stop, but it raises the interest of a smart officer. It's akin to having a sign that says "Please don't stop me, but there's almost certainly a good reason to do so!"
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:15 PM   #11
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This thread made me remember the time I got so engrossed in a conversation with the person riding in the car with me that I passed a police car that was chasing another car.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:32 PM   #12
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Could be a radar trap and he is trying to get you to speed up. In West University Place, TX, there is a street called Buffalo Speedway (really) which is a radar trap. I would drive down it a few miles under the speed limit and back up traffic. Then it would become two lanes each way and everyone would speed up to pass me, and go right into the arms of the waiting police. They would pass me with a glare and I would resist smiling back as I passed them when they were pulled over.

So, I would not pass. A few MPH is not going to save you much time. Besides, you are getting better gas mileage.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:35 PM   #13
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Never been to a ball, but you would be amazed at how many people believe those stickers actually get them out of tickets. You would be even more astounded to know how many police officers are aware that drug traffickers think those stickers ward off the police as well. It's not quite probable cause for a stop, but it raises the interest of a smart officer. It's akin to having a sign that says "Please don't stop me, but there's almost certainly a good reason to do so!"

Never bought one myself, but my parents use to. Good to know that they are useless.
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Old 03-13-2009, 04:09 PM   #14
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There are Fireman's Ball stickers too. Maybe if you're in a wreck those get faster response or maybe even a better truck like one with a ladder on top.

Leonidas - that's what I figured too regarding how obvious it looks.

Another thing I wonder is why they have supervisor cars that have no roof lights. The car itself is all marked like a police car but for some reason if it says "supervisor" on the side they have a bare roof. Is this additional sneakiness or is it so they are easy to spot by other cops? I noticed in some places (like CHP) most of the cars are like that now.

While rambling about cops I've noticed this switch to LED type blinky things on them. I'm sure they gather much attention but damn those things are bright seizure inducing stuff. It's almost mesmerizing all the pretty patterns they do, I can't help but stare as I drive by, surely will ram someone else some day while in a police light coma.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:53 PM   #15
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Im just a law abiding citizen. I do the speed limit.
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:07 PM   #16
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Do I pass it or not?

Sometimes they are going 42 in a 45 and I get this fear my speedometer is off.
Arghhh.
Well, I typically check me speedo for accuracy from time to time (randomly):
  • They setup those "Your Speed is" electronic gizmos from time to time.
  • GPS systems give a speed readout
  • Set your cruise control on sixty and use a mile marker to determine how long it takes to go 1 mile...should be 1 minute.
...........so at least you could at least determine if your speedo is accurate and if the unmarked cop car is going 42 in a 45, you should be able to confidently pass them if you are going 45-48mph.
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:20 PM   #17
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From my experience it depends a lot on which state and local jurisdiction you are in. In California I would go past at the speed limit or a bit more on a nice day. But I remember some years ago in MD where there were huge speed traps/nets where EVERY car even 1 MPH over the limit were 'caught'. A whole fleet of cars and motorcycles were hidden and gave chase if you did not pull over immediately from a signal at the side of the road.
I think it is fair to hate this kind of police action.
On the opposite side I once was behind a CHP car running a 'formal' traffic break and some bozo passes him. Deserved and probably got more than a speeding ticket.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:01 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
I usually pass slower moving police cars at EXACTLY the speed limit... not a mph over, according to my speedometer. Maybe I trust my speedometer too much!! But also, it has occurred to me that the policeman may have some other reason to be going slower so I don't really worry about it. Haven't been stopped yet for doing that.
Same here although i'll add that I usually use my cruise control even on lower speed limit roads to make sure I maintain the same speed. I usually have the cruise control on 90% of the time that i'm driving. One of the perks of living in a somewhat lower population density area and rarely needing to drive during rush hours.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:26 PM   #19
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If I can pass the cop car while driving at the speed limit: yes
If I have to drive faster than the speed limit to pass the cop car: no.

The cops in my area seem to universally drive faster than the speed limit so I rarely face the pass/do not pass dilemma.

But I often have a cop car behind me (I live near a police station) and I know that cops in my area will leave me alone even if I drive 5-6 mph over the speed limit.
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:03 PM   #20
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Never pass a cop.

It's usually not a problem, since they are usually going 30 mph over the limit. But if they aren't there's a reason. Usually it's because they are behind somebody with a half burned roach in the ashtray, and is freaking out and going below the limit. The best thing to do is to get behind them, and let some other fool pass. JMHO.

If you do get pulled over, fall on the ground and scream "don't tase me bro!" over and over.
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