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Tips to avoid traffic tickets

Drivers in California know that feeling of nervousness when they notice a police car driving behind them. It doesn't automatically mean the cop is ready to give a ticket, but traffic tickets can be such an expensive hassle that merely the sight of a cop car in the rear-view mirror can set many drivers' hearts racing. Here are a few simple tips drivers should keep in mind to avoid getting a ticket their next time out.

In California, it is a violation to drive without wearing a seat belt, so one of the simplest things drivers can do to avoid tickets is buckle up. Police departments often have special days or weeks during which they are looking to ticket people for seat belt violations. This is also among the first things police look for once they've made a traffic stop. They can see if the driver attempts to quickly put on his or her seat belt after the stop has been initiated.

Failure to perform basic vehicle maintenance can also result in traffic tickets. Cops will give tickets for headlights, taillights or signals that are out. Even non-functional license plate lights are enough to get a person pulled over.

It's also a good idea for every driver to keep his or her eyes out on a farther point in the road rather than nearer. Looking farther out causes a driver to drive straighter, and veering within traffic lanes is an easy way to get pulled over.

People who have been cited for traffic violations might be able to secure a better result by consulting with an attorney. An attorney who has experience with traffic citations may be able to help by negotiating a reduced penalty or by challenging the citation outright. In some cases, an attorney might argue that the citation was improper or that the cop had no valid reason to initiate the traffic stop.

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