The Dangers Of Reckless Driving
Over 1.24 million individuals lose their lives in fatal car crashes yearly due to reckless driving. An even more significant number end up severely injured, and some of such injuries turn out to be life-altering. As unfortunate as this statistical data is, countless drivers still engage in reckless driving behaviors while being fully aware of the fact that their actions could result in serious road accidents.
Engaging in reckless driving drastically increases the risk of being responsible for a road crash which comes with some serious consequences, some of which we’ll be discussing in the subsequent sections of this article. While no one in their right mind would intentionally risk their life or that of others, the unfortunate truth is that many drivers have no idea how much they’re distracted until a major accident occurs.
What Is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is the process whereby drivers engage in negative behaviors while behind the wheel due to willful or wanton disregard for the law or a lack of concern for the safety of other road users. The consequences for driving recklessly might vary per state depending on the mental or physical state of the irresponsible driver. In contrast, other states handle each case similarly, regardless of circumstances.
The Three Most Common Types Of Reckless Driver Behaviors
Below are the 3 most prevalent types of reckless driving behaviors:
1. Violating Traffic Laws
Irresponsible drivers are known to exhibit a wanton disregard for traffic regulations in countless different ways. A few examples include weaving, ignoring stop signs, driving in the wrong lane, running other vehicles off course, and speeding excessively.
In most cases, drivers decide to tailgate other motorists due to a lack of self-discipline. It’s easy to get provoked when driving as the road is constantly filled with different people with different behaviors. However, you can always choose to be the bigger person when another driver does something offensive instead of following them in an attempt to scare or run them off the road.
3. Expressing Frustration Or Anger While Driving
Most reckless drivers find nothing wrong with yelling at other drivers. Some even go as far as blaring their horns, flashing their headlights, or making offensive gestures, all of which can be very distracting to other drivers.
Other Examples Of Reckless Driving Behaviors
A few other forms of reckless driving behaviors which often result in severe injuries and even death are listed below:
1. Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol Or any Controlled Substance
A driver under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance is prone to drive with wonton disregard for other people’s safety and commit multiple traffic violations.
2. Traveling at excessive speeds
As is to be expected, drivers who travel above the posted speed limit are often issued tickets on the grounds of reckless driving. In most cases, traffic law enforcement officials give out tickets to drivers going over 25 miles an hour. To avoid getting caught unaware, always watch out for speed limit signs whenever you’re behind the wheel.
3. Passing On A Blind Curve
It’s usually indicated with a broken yellow line when it’s safe to drive on the road. Any roadway with a solid yellow line on its surface indicates that drivers should refrain from overtaking each other no matter the circumstance or if the vehicle ahead is moving at a snail’s pace. Driving on a blind curve makes it exceedingly difficult to see oncoming traffic, drastically increasing the chances of a car crash.
4. Trying To Avoid Or Outrun A Police Officer
Some drivers will do just about anything to avoid getting apprehended by traffic law enforcement officials. Unfortunately, such actions, which often include swerving, speeding, running red lights, and ignoring traffic signs, will only result in more reckless driving charges.
5. Racing Or Competing With Other Drivers
There are instances where drivers drive at obscene speeds in an attempt to compare their vehicle’s speed with that of other drivers, recklessly exposing themselves and other road users to a substantial danger. The risks of racing on public roadways are drastically increased when the ones concerned attempt to cross into the other lane simply to get ahead in the race.
6. Ignoring Road Barriers Or A Railroad Crossing
Railroad barriers are meant to deter drivers from driving into train tracks in the event that there’s an incoming train. Although it rarely ever happens, intentionally Ignoring railroad barriers can result in a severe train collision. Inversely, getting out unscathed does not negate the possibility of getting slammed with reckless driving charges.
7. Passing A School Bus With It’s Stop Sign Extended And Headlights Flashing
Whenever the driver of a school holds out a stop sign or flashes their vehicle’s headlights, this indicates that children can safely exit or board the vehicle. Choosing to ignore either of these signs can put the lives of the children in your proximity at risk. While you may think you’re being cautious, driving by the school bus slowly in such an instance can also cause you to be charged with reckless driving.
Consequences Of Being Responsible For A Reckless Driving Accident
Death and severe injury are two well-known consequences of reckless driving. However, there are a few other repercussions of reckless and distracted driving besides having to pay for medical treatment, some of which are listed below:
1. License Suspension
Getting caught driving recklessly on multiple occasions will most likely result in your license getting revoked. In some instances, the reckless driver might have his or her license temporarily suspended, although this depends on the severity of the offense and whether there are any serious injuries
2. Reckless Driving Ticket Or A Fine
If a traffic official finds a driver engaging in reckless driving behavior or acting in any way that could risk the lives of other road users, they are obligated by law to issue tickets or take the guilty party into custody, after which the guilty party may be required to pay a fine.
3. Reckless Drivers Run The Risk Of Increased Insurance Premiums
When an individual is caught by law enforcement officers exhibiting reckless behaviors behind the wheel, the insurance company of the accused driver will certainly not want to bear the burden. A reckless driving conviction will most likely lead to an increase in the insurance premium of the concerned party. It can also have a massive impact on their insurance claim.
4. Causing A Reckless Driving Accident Can lead To Serious Jail time
A driver’s reckless behavior could lead to some time behind bars. The possibility of jail time is determined by the police report filed at the accident scene and if any casualties were recorded. The reckless driver would need to hire an experienced car accident attorney and a solid attorney-client relationship is essential depending on how dire the situation is.
5. Installation Of An Ignition Locking Device On The Vehicle Of The At-Fault Driver
Causing a road accident after drinking or being under the influence of drugs can result in the authorities installing an ignition interlocking device on the tires of a person’s vehicle. In special cases, the perpetrator will be allowed to operate their vehicle only when necessary, like driving to school or work.
6. Death Or Physical Injury
Driving recklessly is highly advised against due to the possibility of bodily harm to one’s person or other drivers. There’s also a chance of traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other severe injuries that tend to attract highly high medical bills and insurmountable medical expenses. However, this is nothing compared to having to pay the ultimate price of losing one’s life.
Why People Drive Recklessly
An aggressive driver is no different from drunk drivers. Conclusive data from the NHTSA show that 4 different scenarios are often connected to reckless driving accidents. Remember that none of these factors are exclusive to specific scenarios, which means a driver might experience two or more of the factors listed below simultaneously:
1. Trying To Avoid Traffic Congestion
There are a handful of reasons that could lead to traffic delays. When drivers who simply do not have the patience to deal with delays find themselves in such situations, they are bound to road rage or engage in reckless driving behaviors.
Almost every driver on the road has some sort of obligation or appointment they have to be on time for. Unfortunately, this is the reason some drivers make poor decisions when driving and the reason for accidents involving distracted driving and reckless behavior.
3. Clinical Or Habitual Behavior
According to the NHTSA, some drivers drive recklessly on a one-time basis, probably due to a stressful day. In contrast, others engage in aggressive driving out of habit and for various reasons such as feelings of frustration, pent-up anger, or a pathological need to confront others when offended.
If you ever feel tempted to exhibit any form of reckless driving behavior, remember that there are consequences if you choose to do so. Repercussions aside, the aftereffects of reckless or impaired driving can sometimes be very difficult to live with, which is all the more reason to drive safely.