We’ve all seen drivers do incredibly dangerous things on the roads and highways—zipping in and out of traffic, following just a couple of feet away from another car’s bumper, even passing on the shoulder. But what are the most common dangerous driving behaviors? Car and Driver developed a list (and Road and Track published a similar one):
Driving under the influence: Drunk driving is the cause of the majority of traffic-related deaths.
Speeding: Speeding is the number two cause of traffic fatalities.
Driving tired: Driving while fatigued is almost as dangers as drunk driving. Factors that can lead to drowsy driving include insufficient sleep, driving patterns that interrupt normal sleep patterns (such as driving very late into the night or driving very early in the morning), and driving long distances. Other conditions, such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, use of medications that cause drowsiness, or even minimal alcohol consumption also can contribute to drowsy driving.
Reckless driving: Reckless driving is extremely dangerous and includes, among other things, swerving, weaving in and out of traffic, passing on the right, suddenly accelerating and braking, and even driving slowly in the left lane on the freeway. In many states, driving 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit automatically constitutes reckless driving and can result in large fines, jail time, or both. Reckless driving is dangerous in part because reckless drivers are unpredictable. Predictable behavior by other drivers is important in avoiding accidents—if everyone follows traffic norms, fewer accidents happen.
Failure to yield the right of way: This causes about a fourth of accidents involving younger drivers, but failure to yield causes a majority of accidents among drivers 70 and older, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Not wearing seatbelts: Despite seat belt laws in Illinois, some drivers and passengers will still either forgot or refuse to wear seat belts. This dramatically increases the risk of injuries in even minor accidents.
Drafting behind tractor trailers: Following closely behind a tractor-trailer can increase your fuel economy, but highway driving isn’t NASCAR. Following closer than about 200 feet generally means the truck driver can’t see you, and at highway speeds that gives you about two seconds to react to sudden actions, such as braking, by the truck driver.
Driving too fast for weather conditions: Nearly one-fourth of vehicle accidents are weather-related. Adverse weather can dramatically change road conditions, often impeding visibility or reducing pavement friction through rain, snow, ice, and sleet, with accompanying negative effects on vehicle stability, maneuverability and stopping ability. The best way to deal with all of these conditions: slow down.
Distracted driving: According to the Centers for Disease Control, common tasks resulting in distracted driving include sending text messages, talking on cell phones, using a navigation systems, and eating while driving. The CDC considers sending a text to be the most distracting because it requires the driver to take eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mentally focus on something other than driving the vehicle—resulting in maximum distraction.
Insurance Companies Have a Similar View of Dangerous Drivers
U.S. Insurance Agents lists these specific dangerous activities:
Tailgating – Driving too close to the car in front of you is risky and unsafe.
Honking as soon as the light changes – Such drivers often also tailgate and show other signs of impatience on the road.
Distracted driving – Distracted drivers might eat, talk on the phone, put on makeup, or any number of things other than focusing on driving the car. All distractions pose hazards to other drivers.
Abnormally slow driving – Traveling far below the speed limit can be just as dangerous for other drivers as speeding, because it forces other drivers to maneuver around the slow-poke.
Speeding – Speeding drivers threaten everyone else on the road. Speed reduces the driver’s ability to respond to sudden changes in conditions as well as control over the speeding car.
Failure to use turn signals for turns and lane changes – Surprising other drivers with lane changes or turns is never a good idea. People who drive with their turn signal on constantly when they have no intention of changing lanes or turning are hazards, as well.
An Attorney Can Help You With Injury Claims
Obviously, dangerous drivers of all sorts are out on the roads, increasing the likelihood that you could be injured in an accident through no fault of your own. Should this happen, for most people the first thought is not to sue someone. Most people focus is on medical treatments and recovery, getting back to work, becoming well enough to fully participate in family life, and other practical, immediate concerns.
However, practical concerns can and should include whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. While you might consider simply filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company yourself, that insurance company might deny responsibility, dispute your damages, or even try to attribute fault in the accident to you. Personal injuries caused by accidents tend to result in complex cases that require investigative and legal experience most people simply don’t have.
If You Were Injured in an Accident in the Chicago area, Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys of Abels & Annes
If you were involved in an accident that you believe a dangerous driver caused, consult an attorney to determine your rights.
The attorneys of Abels & Annes can protect your rights when you are involved in such an accident. Reach us at (312) 924-7575 or through our website.