The sad reality is every single day the same Mitsubishi L300 van rolls past you on the motorway, you can see his passenger front wheel bearing is flopping in the wind, the rear vision mirror is missing and the holes surrounding the rear window are leaking rust water so fast its a miracle the window is still in. This vehicle is a danger to road users no questions asked and should not pass rego. You don’t think twice about it until that very night you’re slapped with a defect notice from Mr Plod who has deemed your car unsafe to be on our roads. Your vehicle has upgraded, brakes, suspension and tyres. Yet your going home on a tow truck. The age old battle of car guy Vs Police is an ever losing battle that the abuse of power means you stand no chance. So what do you do? Prevention is better than cure. Here are some of our tips that should help keep that awesome sticker off your windscreen.
Before we get started on this, it needs to be said that this blog post has been months in the making.It has been edited and edited and edited again. The subject is controversial and we wanted to make sure the facts were right and that our readers were not getting false information.With that said, here is your disclaimer. GDL Automotive Services, its staff or anyone affiliated with this take no responsibility for anything that occurs as a result of any person acting upon the information given here.
1. V8’s vs Jap import. Back when we first entered the modified car world the Japanese drift car was a rare thing and the Police hardly looked twice at them but owning a V8 was a ticket for a defect. The tables have now turned and owning and building a V8 Commodore or Torana will almost guarantee a defect free life. Japanese “drift” cars are now the target of the Police. If ever there was a good time to build a V8, this is it. Our first piece of advice comes down to your personal preference but if you were torn between the two we would advise go the V8 way right now (this can and will change in the future).
2. Build it right. The attention the Police show to the Japanese market started when cars like this started rocking around on public roads. The style demonstrated here is called drift missile and it grew from the competitive sport of drifting. The competitors in this sport did not care what the car looked like and as a result they end up looking bashed and uncared for. This then became fashion with those building street cars. We are unsure how much of this was following fashion or young McDonalds employees building a street/drift car on an income of $4 an hour. Regardless of the cause of this what ended up happening was cars built in back yards, on a budget with Blu-tac and velcro and for some reason it became acceptable in the scene. This in turn results in a massive amount of cars that are in fact unsafe on our roads and forced the police crackdown on it. So if you’re building a Japanese street/drift car avoid going for the drift missile look, it will get you pulled over more often than not. In addition to this if you’re building or own a car that looks like a missile due to the lack of funds readily available to you, the sad reality is, you can’t afford this hobby. Quit smoking, stop spending your pay check at the pub and invest the money into building your car properly.
3. Loud is bad. We’re not talking actual decibels loud here. Loud as in attention seeking type loud. If the modifications done to your vehicle are designed to turn peoples heads or make them look twice at your car then we have bad news for you. Unfortunately police officers also have eyes are are also drawn to look at your vehicle twice, just like everyone else. VL Commodores dosing down the street, coil overs wound so low the bump stop is grinding away, custom number plates and fluro yellow paint jobs all turn heads when rolling up Gerorge Street at 1am on a Saturday morning and that’s great for you if that was your goal with building the car but you can’t then cry that your getting picked on when your picked out of a crowd. Enthusiasts argue that vehicle modification is an expression of self and that your style is unique and that to avoid certain mods to protect yourself goes against your style. Agreed, but once again if that’s how you want to roll the cost of that is attention both desired and unwanted. If you can change your taste in vehicle modifacation then we advise steering clear of attention seeking mods.
4. Vehicle does matter. As much as you would like to think the average cop is only good for fogging mirrors and can’t think for themselves, we’re here to say its not the case. And in the few instances where that is true they have information days to help these fly swatters catch up. The result is police do know what they are looking for. Some cars no matter how you build it, what colour you paint it or how you drive it will get you pulled over. S13-S15, WRXs, EVO Lancers, Skylines and Supras, forget it. The cops know these cars and can pick them from miles off. There is very little you can do if you own one of these cars you will get pulled over eventully, its unavoidable. If that bothers you buy an MX5.
5.The hour of play time needs to change. The only time we have ever witnessed anyone ever defected was on a Friday or a Saturday night. Obviously this is not always the case however ten pm on a Friday night at Palm beach will always get you having a conversation with flashing red and blue in the background . If you want to enjoy your car on a drive we advise Sunday afternoon drives and other week nights. Friday and Saturday traditionally has more highway patrol police officers on duty due to the higher traffic. Avoid being on the roads at these times.
6.Avoid known problem areas. Acting surprised when the police spring you at Belrose industrial estate is about as intelligent as putting aluminium foil in the microwave. If you’re hanging out in a location that is known to the entire world as a common burnout/ drifting around roundabouts location, then you only have yourself to blame.
7.Locations are the killer. The most common scenario we have witnessed is a group of loud modified cars meet at a fast food location, mingle, drive and end up in a council car park somewhere near residents. The locals are the ones freaking out at hooligans in the car park and they call the police to report a gang gathering or a drug deal happening. Keep your mingle locations away from residential areas.
8.Fast food is your friend. Standing around in the car park will get the same problem as residential gatherings. Mrs Thomas can’t get her Honda Odyssey into the drive-thru due to some lad convention happening in the carpark, she is intimidated and calls the police. The police don’t even have to do any work they just respond to distress calls from neurotic soccer mums and geriatrics. When at fast food outlets go inside and sit down.
9. Dash cam. Our experience in the past with dealing with this stuff is its advisable to record all your dealings with police and or RTA officials. If you don’t have a dash cam we advise getting one. The moment the blue and red lights flash, start recording. If you don’t have a dash cam your mobile phone will do the trick. If for whatever reason your disputing the events requires time in court, a recording of what was actually said removes any possibility of errors entering either parties recollection of the event. We have also seen that when an enforcement officer is aware that the event is being recorded they will be far more civil towards you.
10. Pull over. This does not always work but often we have avoided the hassle of popping bonnets and the long drawn out process of going through defect dramas, by pulling over before the Police vehicle has lights and sirens going. We are unsure why this is the case but suspect it may have something to do with the recording equipment inside the police vehicle. Its possible that they only record when the lights are on. By pulling over yourself you have not been pulled over and for some reason they don’t seem to bother as much if your already parked.
Finally the full force of the law is unavoidable if you choose to carry on like a pelican and do burnouts, skids, drifting whatever you want to call it. Avoid behaving like a twat and you will have less issues.
Unfortunately there are certain members of the police force who no matter what you do or say will throw the book at you. There are times that you will become completely powerless as a law enforcement officer makes them self feel amazing by oppressing you. There is nothing you can do in these cases and you will be best to just shut your mouth and let Mr Plod boost his own ego. Nothing you do or say will change his mind and your attempts to counter this will encourage him to be even more harsh.