Driving recklessly is a common cause of car accidents; thus, it is not hard to understand why reckless driving is bad. However, even when it does not result in an accident, reckless driving shows a disregard for human health and safety that should be every driver’s responsibility to protect.
Reckless driving accidents often cause serious injuries or even death for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or others. Moreover, anyone caught driving recklessly may be liable for damages they inflict.
What Is Reckless Driving?
The legal definition of reckless driving varies somewhat by state, though many use similar language. For example:
- Louisiana: According to La. R.S. § 14:99, reckless driving is “the operation of any motor vehicle… or other means of conveyance in a criminally negligent or reckless manner.”
- Alabama: Ala. Code § 32-5A-190 says that driving a vehicle “carelessly and heedlessly with willful or wanton disregard” for others or “without due caution or circumspection” is reckless driving.
- Mississippi: Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-1201 defines reckless driving as “a wilful or a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
- Arkansas: Finally, Ark. Code Ann. § 27-50-308 says that any driver who behaves “in such a manner as to indicate a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”
Types of Reckless Driving
Some common reckless driving behaviors include:
- Failing to yield
- Failing to stop at traffic lights or stop signs
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Failing to use turn signals when turning or changing lanes
- Driving while distracted
- Failing to use headlights at night or in heavy rain
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Making illegal U-turns or lane changes
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Facts About the Bad Practice of Driving Recklessly
The main reason driving reckless is bad is that it is dangerous for everyone involved and can quickly result in a life-threatening collision. The more common types of reckless driving behaviors are outlined below.
Even if you are usually a careful and experienced driver, a lack of sleep can affect your performance. You may find yourself:
- Paying less attention to the road
- Unable to make good decisions
- Not reacting quickly to sudden changes in the environment
- Falling asleep at the wheel
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, in 2017, drowsy driving may have been responsible for as many as 91,000 accidents. Getting behind the wheel when you know you are too tired to drive safely is a dangerous and reckless behavior that may cost lives.
The first thing people think of when they hear about distracted driving is probably texting and driving. However, distractions come from numerous sources, including:
- Changing the radio
- Eating or drinking behind the wheel
- Talking to other people in the car
- Grooming yourself while driving
- Looking at the scenery around you
Impaired driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, is a significant cause of crashes each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 29 people in the United States die from drunk driving accidents every day. This equals one fatality every 50 minutes.
There is never an excuse to drive drunk or under the influence of illegal substances. Even legal drugs can affect your performance behind the wheel: do not take any medications that may make you drowsy before you drive, especially if you have never taken the drug before and do not know how it will affect you.
According to the NHTSA, speeding killed nearly 9,500 Americans in 2019. This makes speeding—defined as either exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast to control your vehicle in unsafe conditions—a dangerous and reckless behavior.
When drivers speed, they have less time to stop or slow down to avoid an accident. Speeding increases the likelihood the driver will lose control of their vehicle, which in turn increases the possibility of severe injuries and fatalities if a crash occurs. Speeding is considered a type of aggressive driving behavior and often results from:
- Frustration over traffic congestion
- Running late
- Drivers feel detached from their environments and, therefore, less constrained in how they behave.
- Complete disregard for others and the law
- Poor judgment resulting from drug or alcohol use
- Road rage
Failure to Yield Right of Way
In a 2019 study, the Insurance Information Institute (III) found that failure to yield the right of way was the third most common cause of fatal car and motorcycle accidents. This bad behavior accounted for 7.3 percent of fatal accidents; speeding and driving under the influence were the first and second most common causes, respectively.
You must know who has the right of way in situations and yield when you must do so. In addition, stay alert for anyone who might try to cut in front of you, even if you have the legal right of way.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Hold the Reckless Driver Liable for Your Losses
Reckless driving is not just bad behavior; it is destructive and even deadly. If you or someone you love was hurt or killed in an accident involving a reckless driver, you have the right to hold that person responsible.
For a free, no-risk review of your case, contact the Morris Bart law firm today at (800) 537-8185. We have 15 locations and represent clients in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.
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