Reckless Driving Behaviors Cause Accidents
When we get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, we are trusting that other drivers will drive in a safe manner, following the rules of the road, staying alert, and not engaging in reckless driving behaviors. But that is not always the case.
Accidents happen for many reasons, one of which is reckless driving. This refers to a wanton disregard for others’ safety and the rules of the road – these drivers understand the risks of their behaviors but continue to operate a vehicle in a dangerous manner.
Common Reckless Driving Behaviors
- Distracted driving. Mobile devices are a leading cause of distractions, but drivers engage in other distracting behaviors, too, such as eating and drinking, grooming (shaving, combing the hair, putting on make-up), adjusting the controls on the car, and talking to passengers in the car. All of this takes a driver’s attention off the road.
- At high speeds, drivers may fail to see pedestrians, bicycles and other vehicles. Road and weather conditions can cause a driver to lose control,
- Failing to obey traffic laws, running red lights, and ignoring traffic signals can lead to accidents that occur in intersections such as T-bone or head-on collisions.
- Driving while under the influence of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol can cause a driver to behave erratically – speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and more.
- Aggressive driving such as improper lane changing, tailgating, street racing, illegally passing, driving on the shoulder to pass, passing on a hill or in a no-passing zone can lead to serious accidents.
Avoiding Reckless Drivers
All of these behaviors endanger other motorists as well as innocent bystanders so when you see drivers exhibiting reckless behaviors, here are a few things you can do to avoid being involved in an accident.
- Get out of the way as much as possible when you notice reckless driving behaviors. Do this by lowering your own speed, changing lanes, or even getting off at an exit even if it’s not where you are going.
- Pick a safe spot and pull off the road. Look for a gas station or convenience store where you can stop and take a few moments to breathe and relax.
- Call the police, report the reckless driver. Give any information about the reckless behaviors and the vehicle that you can.
Do not be a reckless driver
- Do not drive while under the influence; that means have a designated driver or call a service such as Uber or Lyft.
- Do not drive after taking medications, especially pain medication. Know how the medications you take affect you.
- Drive the speed limit and arrive alive at your destination.
- Put your cell phone away … far, far away so you are not tempted to answer it, text or make a quick check. Do the same with your smartwatch.
- Refrain from tailgating. If the car ahead has to brake abruptly, it can result in a rear-end accident.
Missouri’s Careless & Imprudent Statute
Yes, Missouri has a careless and imprudent statute.
While Missouri does not have a law that prohibits “reckless” driving; it does have a statute against careless and imprudent driving that requires motorists to:
- Drive in a “careful and prudent manner”
- Drive at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the person or property of another, and
- “Exercise the highest degree of care”
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