'Couldn't See the Sign' Is Top Excuse for Cops

Well, gosh, officer. I didn't see that 35-mph speed limit. Or the yield sign. Or that no-turn-on-red.

That's the most common excuse drivers give when pulled over, according to a new survey by Insurance.com. Last February, the insurance comparison website polled 500 licensed drivers age 18 and older. Of those who said they tried to reason with the police officer — or just plain give an excuse — more than one-fifth said they couldn't see the sign that prohibited their actions.

"There were some striking differences" in answers between men and women, Insurance.com Managing Editor Michelle Megna told us. Of those who said they missed the sign, nearly two-thirds were women — a group that often pleads ignorance in such situations, the survey suggests. Men, by contrast, tend to argue extenuating circumstances or deny any recklessness.

See the rest of the survey's results for yourself:

  • 1. I couldn't see the sign telling me not to do it: 20.4% (38%/62% men/women)
  • 2. I’m lost and unfamiliar with the roads: 15.6% (35%/65% men/women) 
  • 3. I didn't know it was broken: 12.4% (39%/61% men/women) 
  • 4. Everyone else was doing it: 6.4% (56%/44% men/women) 
  • 5. I'm having an emergency situation in my car (for instance, spilled a hot drink on your lap): 5.4% (67%/33% men/women) 
  • 6. I missed my turn/exit: 4.8% (54%/46% men/women) 
  • 7. I had to go to the bathroom: 4.6% (35%/65% men/women) 
  • 8. I didn't do anything dangerous: 4.2% (71%/29% men/women) 
  • 9. I was on my way to an emergency (for example, to help someone who is ill or injured): 4.0% (55%/45% men/women) 
  • 10. My GPS said it was the right thing to do: 2.2% (82%/18% men/women) 
  • 11. I'm just helping out; I wasn't even supposed to be driving (for example, your friend is intoxicated): 2.0% (90%/10% men/women)

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