What Happens If You Get Pulled Over During a Test Drive?

In all my years of working as a car salesperson, I can only remember one time where I had to tell a customer to slow down during a test drive. I worked at a Honda dealership and the customer and I were test driving a 2007 Honda S2000.

During the test drive, he proceeded to enter the freeway and immediately take the car up to 100 mph. I told him to slow down and that if he went above the speed limit again, he would have to pull over and let me drive back to the dealership. Fortunately, he didn’t do it again. But that experience left me wondering what would have happened if we were pulled over by a cop that day.

Yes, you can get pulled over during a test drive

Car dealership test drives are a little different nowadays. Thanks to the pandemic over the past year, you can now test drive a car without having the salesperson ride shotgun with you and attempt to make useless conversation about the weather.

But that doesn’t mean that you’re invincible – or invisible – either. When you’re on a test drive, you are responsible for the way that you drive the car, which means that you can get pulled over for speeding or any other type of reckless driving. And if a cop does pull you over, then you can get a ticket, even if it’s not your car.

A police officer writing a speeding ticket
A police officer writes a speeding ticket | Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you are driving, then you are responsible

In most states, the car’s insurance follows the car, not the driver. This means that if you were to get into an accident while on a test drive, then your own personal car insurance will transfer to the car that you’re driving, according to Lawyers.com.

However, if you’re test driving a car and get pulled over for speeding, then the officer will likely run the plates and registration and see that it’s registered to the dealership. But when it comes to writing the actual ticket, they will put you as the driver, so you’ll be on the hook for that, Insuramatch notes.

It’s easy to get caught up in getting a feel for the way a car accelerates, passes other cars on the freeway, and handles at speed, but it’s more important to be respectful of the law and dealer that loaned you the car. Also, if you get a ticket during a test drive, then prepare to get an earful from the dealer when you return or at least a few snide remarks.

A man driving a Mercedes B-Class
A man driving a Mercedes B-Class | Mercedes-Benz

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Slow down during a test drive

While I didn’t have to tell too many customers to slow down during the countless test drives I went on when selling cars, I can tell you that it’s better to conduct yourself properly when going on a test drive.

If this means sticking to the speed limit, even while on the freeway, then do so. But if you need to accelerate hard to feel the car’s power, then just remember to be cautious about it.

After all, it’s not worth getting a $300 (or more) speeding ticket in a car that you don’t own or don’t even plan to buy – much like the customer that test drove the S2000 that one time.