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Lessons Learned from Two Speeding Tickets

A Woman at the Wheel by Herbert Tadd Towle via LearnNC.orgFor Presidents’ Day weekend, my family travelled from Maryland to Georgia to visit my little sister and her new baby. The car trip is about ten hours with two adults—closer to fourteen with a toddler. Driving it without my unlicensed husband’s help is no small feat.

You can understand why I felt like I was in a hurry. And why I got pulled over for speeding. Twice.

Two very sympathetic officers softened the consequences of my actions. But I’m so grateful for the lessons I learned about rushing on the road—and through my life.

  • I need to slow down. There are days when I can feel my adrenaline pumping. I seem to be going a mile a minute. I can be highly efficient, but it really wears me down and makes me irritable when things don’t go exactly as planned. I can’t live a happy life at that pace.
  • When I think I’ve slowed down, I need to slow down some more. After my first ticket, I set the cruise control at the speed limit and cruised most of the way through the state of Virginia. Imagine my surprise when I saw blinking lights in my rearview mirror several hours later. Turns out, that on the road and in life, sometimes what I think of as slow isn’t really slow at all.
  • Rushing doesn’t really get me to my destination any faster. My mother likes to quotes Lewis Carrol—“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” In this case, the consequences of rushing through the task at hand destroyed whatever gains I might have made with speed.
  • I don’t have to push myself at everything all the time. I am a good driver and I feel confident that no one is in extra danger when I speed. But I can only drive at otherwise unsafe speeds when I devote my full attention to the road ahead and the cars behind me. When I’m going at an impressive pace, I don’t have time for the people or things nearby. There is a time and a place to push myself to my limits, but there is also a time and a place to simply enjoy what I am doing and the company I have to share it with.
  • Peace only comes to those who wait for it. You know the best part of going the speed limit? Driving is fun! At a reasonable speed, I kept a cool head. I had great conversations with my husband. I enjoyed the view. If I want to live a peaceful life—and I truly do—I’ll have to learn to slow down and enjoy the things I do every day.

Have you learned any lessons the hard way lately? Let us know in the comments.

5 responses »

  1. I’m so sorry you were fined twice during the same journey, though it’s lovely to read about your self-reflection through the lessons you learned from the experience.

    Out of curiosity, is a fine the only penalty you incur for speeding in the States? Here in the UK we are also penalised by having “points” attached to our driving license in addition to a fine (and court appearance). Points on our license also increase insurance premiums considerably!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your sympathy! The officers were very kind and seemed to know I had learned my lesson, so they were generous.

      The penalty for speeding in the U.S. depends on individual state laws and how many miles per hour over the speed limit you are going. Many infractions involve points, but not all do. And the officer who pulls you over has a good deal of discretion about what to cite you for.

      Reply
  2. Oh I’m so sorry! I’m glad the officers were lenient with you!
    It didn’t happen on the same day, but I did get three speeding tickets within the first year of Hannah’s life (thankfully two were speed cameras, so I only got points for one of them – otherwise I may have lost my license). Once I got my mental health to a better place, I realized that I was driving like a normal person again – not because I was so afraid of coming home and telling Adam I got ANOTHER ticket, but because it just came naturally. It was only in retrospect that I realized I had been sort of out of control in so many ways that it had just become normal to rush through everything. Driving home from Target couldn’t POSSIBLY take 15 minutes – I didn’t have time for that, it had to be 10… I just never made the connection to my mental health until after the fact…

    Reply
    • You’re absolutely right. I know I’m in better mental health now than I was six months ago, but the way I drive (or was driving up until Monday!) reflects a lot of bad habits I picked up when I was much more depressed. Driving was my outlet, the time I could safely allow myself to be angry at others. I truly don’t think I put anyone at risk, but my driving was neither legal nor very healthy.

      Fortunately (at least in this case) Adam can’t drive. We agreed he isn’t allowed to criticize my driving until he has a license.

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Lessons in Wifery from Gift from the Sea | Experimental Wifery

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