We all know that reckless driving is dangerous, yet we see the results of careless driving on a daily basis. Reckless driving can include negligent driving, aggressive driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol.
These behaviors can put you and others in danger. At worst, it can lead to fatalities and prison time for you.
So what are all the ways that Americans drive recklessly? What are the consequences of reckless driving? What can you do if you were the victim of someone else’s reckless driving?
This guide will help you understand the different types of reckless driving and the reasons why it’s dangerous. You’ll also learn what you can do to prevent reckless driving.
- Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to driving a car while under the influence of an intoxicant. An intoxicant can include alcohol, marijuana, hard drugs, prescription drugs, etc.
There are, however, differences under the law concerning reckless driving vs DUI. Reckless driving will usually lead to a misdemeanor charge. Reckless driving is when you show complete disregard for other’s safety while you drive.
A DUI will have more serious consequences. If it leads to reckless driving, you can expect a serious charge that can lead to imprisonment.
- Poor Traffic Etiquette
There are many behaviors that can get classified as reckless driving. If a police officer sees you exhibiting any of these behaviors, you can expect to get stopped.
Tailgating is one of the most common types of reckless driving. This refers to following a car with yours, coming very close to their bumper.
If you follow a car too closely without leaving much space, this can lead to a serious collision. Even if this is done without intention, it can still get construed as reckless driving.
If you fail to yield or don’t stop at a STOP sign, this is also reckless driving. Even if these don’t lead to accidents, you are still driving recklessly.
Even if there are no other cars around, you cannot drive past a STOP sign without stopping first. If there is a police officer nearby, you can expect them to charge you with reckless driving.
If you weave in and out of traffic, that’s another common example of reckless driving. If a police officer doesn’t see you, there’s still the chance that another driver will report you.
You might feel confident with this type of driving, but you are making your fellow drivers nervous.
Excessive speeding is also reckless driving. Don’t think that because you only went 2 miles above the speed limit that a police officer won’t stop you. You might think you can handle driving your car at a fast speed, but this can still lead to a fatal accident.
Illegal U-turns and changing lanes without signaling can also be reckless driving. As you can see, any violation of the basic etiquette of driving can get construed as reckless driving.
- Drowsy Driving
One of the most overlooked aspects of reckless driving is drowsy driving. This refers to driving while fatigued. It can lead to driving after falling asleep at the wheel.
While not as common as driving while drunk, this can be just as dangerous. This can lead to you getting into accidents, missing your turns, forgetting driving etiquette, and much more. If you feel drowsy while you drive, the best option is to pull over and rest.
Drowsy driving can occur when you go on a long road trip. If you are driving with a group, make sure that you take turns to switch drivers.
If you drive by yourself, you want to make sure you prepare ahead of time. Make sure you are well-fed and hydrated before you drive. Pack an adequate amount of snacks and beverages to boost your energy.
You should do your research to see if there are hotels or rest stops on your way. Don’t take the risk of driving when you feel exhausted!
- Distracted Driving
Let’s look a bit deeper at distracted driving and how to prevent it. One recent phenomenon has been texting and driving. While we may be experts at typing several words per minute, even a few seconds of looking at our phone can have life-changing consequences.
So what’s the solution?
The first is to ignore your phone altogether. For most of us, the texts and calls we receive can wait. If you feel that you do need to respond, consider connecting your phone to your car.
Most modern cars will have the technology to connect your smartphone to them. You can make hands-free calls and dictate text messages. This is a much safer option than having to worry about reaching for your phone at any time.
You’ve also got to keep your eyes off the distractions on the streets. Maybe there’s a parade happening on one street. Or perhaps there’s a protest that piques your curiosity.
If you want to observe what’s going on, you have to be a passenger, not a driver.
Even if you eat and drink while you drive, you can make an error and get into an accident. As we mentioned before, never drive if you aren’t adequately hydrated or well-fed.
If you talk to your passengers, you have to make sure they don’t distract you. Don’t look at them while you speak. If a passenger states “hey, look at this,” ignore them completely!
Your eyes must always be on the road, no matter what. If you drive with younger children who need your attention, pull over first before attending to them.
Reckless Driving Is Dangerous: Work to Prevent It
If you are a victim of someone else’s reckless driving, you have to do something about it. Reckless driving is dangerous and can ruin someone’s life forever.
Hire an attorney to pursue charges against anyone who drives in a reckless manner. Don’t be afraid to report reckless drivers to the police.
Make sure you also follow the laws and etiquette of the road. Encourage others to always practice responsible driving.
Encourage others to learn the best driving practices from professional instructors.
If you want to learn more about responsible driving, you can find related content on our website!