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Can you get a ticket for excessive accleration?

So it's been a very long time since driver's ed, and my Tesla should finally arrive week after next, and an interesting question popped into my head:

Is it against the law to accelerate rapidly (e.g., from a red light) up to the speed limit provided you're not racing another driver?

Here in Austin, the street that our neighborhood empties out onto has many areas that are 65mph, but even in the 65mph areas there are lots of stop lights (gotta love Texas!), so one could have LOTS of fun, but I would rather save tickets for speed traps! Does anyone happen to have a good answer for this?

Yes, I believe the technical name is exhibition of acceleration. You can also get reckless driving if you are "racing" or doing something they deem reckless (spinning tires, etc).

It is a judgment call on the part of the officer, so not really something you can fight either.

The Model S should be your best chance ever of avoiding the kinds of tickets rochec is describing. Old School cars used to make a heck of a lot of noise when revving their engines to get a quick jump of the line as the light goes green.
The Model S is basically a road legal Stealthfighter

ArieK, that's my is it an exhibition if it's just a fast but silent car? I know revving and tire squealing constitutes exhibition, but just going fast (but legally so)...I'm not so sure!

If the speed limit is 35 MPH and you just happen to get to that speed in about 2 seconds, is it really illegal? ;)

@BYT, exactly my question...only around here, it's 0-65, not 35!

Cops hate nothing more than the stop light drag race. You sure will get a ticket if you're racing another car knowingly or unknowingly. The best time to do it is probably when you're the only car at the stop light.

The practical problem with doing this is people don't expect it and also don't hear you coming. The other day I accelerated fairly rapidly away from a light, and midway down the block someone turned left directly into my lane. I presume they looked, saw how far away I was, and assumed they had time.

And they would have if they had accelerated. What they did instead was look back, see me coming up on them, and slam on the brakes. Dumb dumb dumb.

Fortunately I was able to brake and switch lanes, but it was a lot closer than I would have liked.

Also be careful of jumping out of a light as soon as it turns green, a lot of folks like to run yellow lights and you may clip them when jumping out so quickly.

A few weeks ago I was on the pole position at a light leading to the on ramp of Interstate 70 East (Colorado). There was a State Patrol in the car right behind me. When the light turned green, I began a normal acceleration, and then after 10 feet I floored it getting up to 65 mph within ~5 seconds as I entered the Interstate. The State Patrol was way back 200-250 feet, but I kept my speed at 65 mph, which is the limit. The State Patrol quickly closed the gap on me, as I was thinking "rut roh", and then he pulled up along side me in the left-hand lane. He was checking out the car and just staring at me. I gently smiled and nodded my head, and he nodded back.

I was only going 2 miles down the Interstate before my exit and the State Patrol followed me off and onto the exit ramp. I then pulled into a strip mall shortly after the exit. The patrolman saw where I went and come into the parking lot and stopped right behind me. He got out and approached me as I was exiting Joules. He asked "what the hell was that?" I said, do you mean the acceleration? He said "yeah, that is the fastest, smoothest acceleration I have ever seen." I realized he was more curious about the car, than wanting to ticket me, so I relaxed and explained all about the Model S. He said, I wish we had these as patrol cars, as we could close-down the gap on speeders in no time flat.

So I casually asked him, was it okay for me to accelerate from light like that? He said as long as I didn't exceed the speed limit and I wasn't out of control, then it's okay in his mind. He did say, "but that's my interpretation, and you were in control, just getting off the line faster than I have ever seen." I laughed and said I would never drive Joules recklessly :) He left with a smile on his face. I went home, after my errand, and changed my underwear.

Depends on the state you live in, some states have an excessive acceleration law. other states may be able to prosecute you via reckless driving statutes.

Don't know about Texas so I couldn't tell you.

@BYT has an excellent point. I always do two things (1) make sure I am not stopped on loose gravel or sand, as that would damage the car behind me, and (2) watching cars approaching the intersection from both sides until I know they are stopping. Then hit the go pedal.

You should enjoy your car (in a safe manner) and that includes enjoying its performance. I don't see anything wrong with flooring it, while accelerating in a straight path to 65 mph. But then again I am not a cop. If a cop wants to be a jerk he can be a jerk about anything.

Don't race or Tokyo drift and you should be fine.

As a former motorcycle cop (i know, boooo), and a current MS owner (yeah), here is some advice on this subject. Speed limits are zoned based on traffic surveys that tell the department of transportation what the speed should be set at. The law is all about safe and unsafe speeds.

The speed limit # is not exactly what the officer will look for, it is really all about what is safe. Safe is determined by the conditions and can include the type of roadway, lighting, weather, pedestrians and even the type of vehicle. i.e. an 80's pickup truck, with 30 pallets stacked in the bed tied down with rope may only be safe to travel at 30mph in a 35mph zone and could be considered to be a good violation at 35-40mph. A MS in that same zone could be considered safe at 40-50 because of its ability to handle and brake safely. (except freeways and school zones, there the # is the limit)

But as said before its really going to be a judement call on the part of the officer. It all comes down to making sure you dont get into a heinous collision.

As far as accelerating up to the speed limit from a light. There are laws about exhibition of speed as well as unsafe starting. These again will come down to judging if you were unsafe and not so much about the mph. These types of violations are usually from the loud muscle types or little racer cars and tend to attract attention from loud exahust and loss of traction. Since your MS will be silent and your tires will not slip, most quick take offs will be of no concern.

Another thing to be aware of is cross traffic. Quick acceleration from a light is one of the leading ways to get t-boned from cross traffic that either caught the end of the yellow or ran a red. Know that if you catch a yellow light by the front of your vehicle passing the limit line before it phases to red you are good to proceed all the way through and thus have the right of way. If you are sitting at a red in your MS and rocket away on the green and get hit from the side it could end up being your fault. So, please do this, look left and right, then left again before you accelerate. Its like crossing the street on foot when you were a kid. It just might save you one day.

Here is what I do. I step on that accelerator and I love to rocket away whenever possible. But... I check my surroundings, I look for pedestrians, bicyclists, other cars that could be a hazard and I check for cross traffic before I go. Your vehicle limitations are going to be top rate in a MS and if you understand your own limitations you will drive in control. Accidents happen when you exceed your ability or your vehicle's limits. Be careful.

The great thing about the Model S is that you can sit after the light turns green for a second or two, to ensure it's safe to accelerate. In an ICE car one often tries to anticipate a green or stares at the light and hits it upon turning green without really focusing on cross traffic.

Great advise and insight by jvanhecke, and no booing please. To protect and serve!

"He said, I wish we had these as patrol cars, as we could close-down the gap on speeders in no time flat."

That's a thought.

Interesting thread. Be careful accellerating in dark. It was well before dawn, 5:30am, no moon, very light traffic, at stop sign, no one ahead, commercial three lane road, when light turned i accellerated quickly to speed limit of 50 (took all of about 3 seconds). Police car came out of dark behind me with lights flashing, pulled me over. Very nice female cop. Asked me what i was doing accellerating so quickly? Said I was trying out new car, with no traffic. She said that she pulled me over not for speeding but because she was so shocked at the sudden accelleration she thought that I was trying to get away from her police vehicle. Never even saw her. She smiled, asked a few questions about the vehicle, said be careful with new electric car and drove off.

Just keep traction traction control on. Wheel spin will get you lots of undesirable attention.

In most states the charge w/b "driving too fast for conditions" which gets the law around proving the "not exceeding the posted limit " prohibition. Much harder for police to prove(radar works against them)and hard for them to convince a judge unless you hit somethng or are in a school zone. Should never be a problem when entering a highway.

Sounds like the on ramp will be my friend! Of course, here in Texas, the vast majority of on ramps are from straight feeder roads, so you can flat out floor it without worrying about a cloverleaf (though cloverleafs--or is it cloverleaves?--are fun, too!).

Yes cloverleaf is fun. That's when you'll appreciate performance plus.

I accelerated rather hard in front of a cop on a local street (and I knew he was behind me). He followed me on the freeway until the last city exit. Of course I never exceeded the speed limit but he was watching me closely.

I also tend to hang back a second or two to make sure it's safe before hand.

I tend to get to the limit but not over rather quickly. Being quiet, and with traction control, I don't attract much attention.

I'll say though, getting to, but not over the limit requires split second timing. The difference between legal 40 and illegal 45 is a split second or so.


quick side bar: thanks for being a cop. Like being a teacher, its under valued, but so important.

Your welcome. I appreciate that.

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