Monday, May 24, 2010

Run-Ins with the Swedish Police

I’ve had a decent amount of adventures in my various cars. It all started when I was 15 and managed to run into the tennis coach’s car. I was in a suburban. I won. Or lost I suppose.

Anyway, despite my adventures, I’ve only been pulled over three times in over ten years of driving. Twice in the US and once in Sweden.

The first time I was heading out to some of Weld County’s finest county roads in search of a haggard baseball cap. I had lost it while riding in a buddy’s jeep. He decided not to stop so I could get it because of the hopes of hooking up with some girl. I wasn’t all that interested in who he was going to make out with so went home to get my own car. I wanted my hat back. On the way, I was pulled over for having a broken headlight. As luck would have it, that very headlight had just broken that very day. Luckily for me, I was able to convince the police officer of that and drove away with a warning to get the light fixed and a citation for not driving with my up to date insurance card which was later waived when I produced the up to date card. All in all, not bad.

The second time was in Wyoming on my way back from Oregon after my freshman year. Driving way too fast. Wyoming in the middle of the night lends itself to driving fast though. It also lends itself to state troopers hiding on the side of the road and waiting for idiots like me to fly by. Again, luck played a part and two semi-trucks in front of me forced me to slow down. A lot. So I was pulled over for going 12 miles per hour over the speed limit.

I pulled over with two dorm rooms worth of stuff in the Saab and a very tired car battery. I turned the car off and waited. The state trooper from Green River sauntered up and proceeded with his business. It took a while. All the while, all the crap in my car had turned one of back interior lights on. Draining my battery in the process. The state trooper gave me a ticket for speeding and left. I tried to turn my car on. To no avail. The battery was shot.

The trooper did however swing back around and stop by, asking if everything was ok. I said no. My battery was dead. And he argued with me. His reasoning being that because my headlights were coming on, the battery was not dead. I respectfully disagreed and explained that I had been driving this car for nearly four years and the battery was most definitely not strong enough to start the car. Did he have any jumper cables I could borrow? No. Despite being a state trooper in the desolate wasteland that is the interstates of Wyoming, and despite driving around in a Dodge Durango, the state of Wyoming does not equip their state troopers with jumper cables. Awesome.

I had my own. I knew better than to drive without jumper cables. Unfortunately, with two dorm rooms worth of junk in my car, it was going to take me unpacking the trunk to get to them. But I did. And lo and behold, a quick jump, and my car was working again. Turns out it was my battery. Who knew.

The third time was in Sweden. I was horribly lost. I had been driving around looking for streets that might seem familiar. Back and forth. All for naught. I made a quick U-turn and saw myself staring back at a car that pulled up right in front of me. At first, I was very confused. And then the blue lights turned on. Wonderful. It was an unmarked police car. The plain clothes officer walked up to me, produced a badge, and asked me what I was doing. I was lost. Ok. Have you been drinking? I had a 3.5% beer with my meal. Ok. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem but we are going to have you blow anyway.

At this point I was kind of excited. I’ve never had to blow for a breathalyzer before and my one 3.5% beer several hours before wasn’t exactly a worry. So the officer returned to the car and attempted to find his breathalyzer. And did not. His partner started looking. And he did not find it. After a few more minutes of searching, they gave up.

The original officer returned to my car and asked me where I was going. I explained. Follow me. And so I did. He led me to the street, waved me forward and told me just to make my next right and I would be good to go. And he was right.

So three stops, one ticket, one jump, and one police escort. My police adventures haven’t always been the usual.

Welcome to Sweden. And friendly police officers.

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  1. Have been following your blog for several months now and I really love your posts. They force me, in a good way, to analyse my "swedish" way of thinking.
    I've had my drivers licence for almost three years now but I havn't been stoped by the police yet.
    (Sorry for my bad english...)

  2. This youtube video relates to your post:

    Funny thing is that I just saw it today and now I read your post!

  3. Tod
    Lucky dude!
    In my case in 8 years of driving despite that time i nearly hit a police kiosk and another time when i drove 170 Km/hr on 80Km/hr road and waved to the officer standing on the side still no pull over, no ticket, no nothing. Life was good and i was younger.

  4. Funny, I remember that hat well. I ususally get out of a ticket by pulling the typical girl card-crying. I imagine that doesn't work as well with the male sex. Glad you got home safely!

  5. Were they hot Swedish Police Officers? RRRrrrrrr... ;)


  6. @Priscilla: I have yet to see an ugly Swedish cop. Seriously. It's like hotness is a qualification. The women even moreso than the men. I got pulled over for driving down a street I wasn't supposed to be driving down. Hot Swedish cop pulls me over and lo and behold...he could barely speak English. What are the chances?! Got off with a warning...yay me. Unfortunately still driving around with my winter tires on...a big, fat no-no here so just waiting to get pulled over by another hot copper :-).

  7. @anonymous – very nice of you to say, and good work on not being stopped yet. You’ve done better than me. And by the way, your English seems to be quite impressive.

    @dax – its all about timing!

    @anonymous (tod) –sounds like you are the lucky one!

    @Tara – It’s a good looking hat. Id like to think it left an impression on everyone. I don’t know that the crying would work for me. Especially if it was just over having lost my hat…

    @anonymous (Priscilla) – well, the guy didn’t really do it for me. But he wasn’t an ugly fellow.

    @Jennifer – sounds like youre almost trying to get pulled over. Is this some sort of strange pick up technique?

  8. Not that you'd want to take your car there, but did you see in todays Metro papaer that there's a country music festival going down outside of town? Been following your blog for some time and noted you like the stuff ^^ No idea about the names on their artist roster but who knows.


  9. Don't ever attend a football derby in this city if you wish to keep that image of the friendly Swedish police officer. I'm an avid Hammarby (why, oh why dad?) supporter and have been attending these games since early childhood.

    Now, I'm not a hooligan, which makes it even more impressive that they've managed to put me, twice mind you, in the hospital.

    Hej! Ny läsare här. Väldigt rolig blogg detta som jag hädanefter kommer följa religiöst. Har läst ikapp ett par timmar och skrattat gott må jag säga.

  10. @anonymous - thanks, I actually hadnt heard about that!

    @the urban achiever - yeah, Ive heard that those things dont help anyones image...

    and glad youre enjoying the blog, and that youre not in the hospital of course.