I’m a criminal

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I have a new baby nephew.  He was born to my brother and his sweet beautiful bride in Waco, 3 1/2 hours northeast of us.

Since this is their first baby and they have no older helpers or family nearby, we sent Kaitlyn and Lydia to help for several days during Baby Samson’s first week.  On Thursday evening, I headed up to retrieve the girls and see the little guy firsthand.  Becca and Parker rode with me in Perry’s little work car, but both fell asleep halfway through the trip.

As I came through Georgetown, it was already past 11 PM and I-35 was nearly empty.  The nearest vehicle was a silhouette in my rear view mirror, at least 100 yards behind me.  I was tired and kept finding myself dropping below 60 mph, although the posted limit was 70 during the day and 65 at night.

Confession time: I was talking to Kaitlyn on the phone as I drove.  Not the best idea, I know, but I was hardly in traffic and I think the conversation was keeping me from getting drowsy.  This is relevant because I am hard of hearing in my right ear and always hold the phone on the left side, with my left hand.  When I realized that I was in the far left lane and decided to move to the right, my left hand was busy and it seemed like too much trouble to signal.

I know you are gasping in horror.  Changing lanes without signalling?  Who knew that KimC was capable of such crimes?  Will you still read my blog now that you know my dirty secret?

Fear not, dear readers.  My life of crime came to an early end, and justice was done.  The authorities were on the scene.  The one car on the road – the dark silhouette in my rear view mirror – exploded into a whirling array of red and blue lights and I found myself by the side of the road, rifling through my husband’s glove box looking for an insurance card.

But I’m afraid I may have been a disappointment to our brave hero.   Georgetown is a college town, and I’m told that eager college students often start their weekend drinking binge on Thursday night.  I’ve never been guilty of DUI, but I have driven behind a few likely candidates and they are slow. They tend to go 5 or 10 mph under the limit, and they probably don’t pay much attention to details like signalling a lane change.  They probably drive smallish, older, inexpensive cars too, just like Perry’s work car.

If you still doubt me, the officer had me walk the figurative white line: he subtly tested my ability to  multi-task, something the inebriated simply can’t do.  We used to be good friends with a police officer, and he told us all about that trick and the amusement it provides.

Between the sleeping 9yo, the baby who woke up and cried on cue, and  my ability to multi-task, I think the officer’s suspicions were allayed.  Also, you probably don’t see too many 38yo women wearing their hair in a bun on their way home from a sorority party.

In the end, I left with a warning but no ticket and my driving record is still squeaky clean.  I have to admit that I am just a little grateful for the reminder to signal when I change lanes.  It’s very important for me to use my turn signal every single time.  How else can I justify my extreme irritation at drivers who don’t?

Comments

  1. I can’t believe he actually made you walk the line! Eeek! That probably would have made me start giggling.

    So glad you didn’t get a ticket, congratulations on your new nephew!

  2. I have to agree with Kate from Australia and Tereza. Talking, or worse, texting, is illegal and working on being illegal in several states in the the USA. As of March, 2011:

    http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html

    • Thank you Terry, but the cell phone was not an accomplice in my crime spree that night. It’s still perfectly legal in Texas to talk on the cell phone while driving, and I absolutely was not texting while driving.

  3. What is it that most people tell their teenagers when teaching them to drive?? Put both hands on the steering wheel!!!!

    and No cell phones!!!

    Kim, I agree with the Australian lady!! If you were too drowsy to drive you should have stayed at your sister?? and slept there, maybe??

    I had a wreck 9 years ago, when I decided to put a french fries paper bag on the floor in front of the passenger seat next to the my driver’s seat. I was driving at 40 mph and the distraction was enough to send the car off the road and into a ditch. I wasn’t hurt but the car was totalled.

    So since that episode: Both hands on the wheel are a must and no cell phones!!!

    car accidents happen when the driver gets distracted. 🙁 I am glad you didn’t have an accident!

  4. Hehehe! I giggled too.

  5. I have long been a fan of your blog and have never left a critical comment before. However, I think you are extremely foolish driving whilst using a mobile phone. In Australia (my country) it is illegal to use a hand-held phone whilst driving and you would have lost your license. More importantly, you could have harmed your sleeping children, which would have been a far greater burden to bear.

    Just because it is legal in your country to talk on a hand-held phone while you drive doesn’t mean that you should.

    Kate

    • Kate,
      I appreciate your opinion, and I tend to agree that talking on the phone while driving is a dangerous habit that we Americans should reconsider. However, in this particular case I really do think it was helping keep me awake and alert and was not dangerous.
      When used wisely, I don’t think a cellphone is any more dangerous or distracting than a chatty passenger. When used foolishly, it’s undeniably hazardous.

  6. The good news is that if you had been driving the speed limit and only didnt use your signal you were close enough to Austin for no one to think otherwise of it. Also the fact that with open road of ahead of you and that you were not speeding becuase you got out of Austin traffic is one reason for him to be suspicious of this driver. I guess the slow speed/no blinker combo tipped the scale and made him pull you over. 🙂 sure glad you didnt get a ticket.

  7. I am surprised that the officer let you by with a warning. Usually Williamson county officers do not give warnings. I drive that bit of road several times a week. It is usually heavy in traffic.
    Congratulations on the new family member. I am sure he is cute as a button….
    Glad your driving record is still clean.

  8. Come drive in Philly sometime–it is the wild west here and the cops are the worst offenders! No one signals to change lanes, speed limits are optional, yellow lights mean speed up and most people (including cops) run red lights with abandon. Pedestrians routinuely have to play chicken because the cars are so obnoxious and rude and don’t abide the rules of the road. Policemen have been known to turn on their sirens and lights just to get around heavy traffic, not for any emergency.

    I’m shocked you got pulled over for not signaling! But then, I’ve been driving on the East Coast for a few years, and have given up on anyone enforcing any kind of traffic laws.

    Glad you got away with only a warning; ’round these parts if you actually do get pulled over, a ticket is just inevitable because the city is so bankrupt that they need the revenue!

  9. How funny! I giggled the whole way through this story. I’m glad you didn’t get a ticket. 😉

  10. Ahh, that sounds like me! I got pulled over the other week for carelessly speeding while talking to my screaming baby in the back seat, trying to calm her. Even though I was speeding AND could not find my registration papers for the car (which was my sister-in-law’s car, actually, from a different province) the officer let me off. Sooo, I guess screaming babies do come in handy sometimes!

  11. Glad you didn’t get a ticket! How embarrassing to have to walk the “white line” and all. It does sound reasonable, the reasons why he pulled you over.

    On another note – congratulations Auntie! Our niece had her first baby yesterday – a little girl! My first great niece! I won’t get to see her until May as they live in a different state.

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