Defensive driving is discussed often, mainly because it doesn’t happen often.
If it did happen often, we would experience far fewer than 6 million auto accidents in the U.S. every year.
Driving is very much a communal effort. In order for everyone to be safe on the roadways, every individual driver has to do the right things to keep themselves safe in order to support the community. And while 98% of drivers are conscientious and only make mistakes once in awhile, there is that small group of drivers that do not have the communal thought in mind, and instead takes a more selfish approach to driving.
Unfortunately, this very small percentage does not mean that reckless or aggressive driving is not common. We all make mistakes; most of us have broken a driving law or two at some point, whether it was driving too fast for the weather or road conditions, running a red light, failing to yield, etc. While many of us rarely (if ever) get caught, if we make that mistake and it is a factor in an auto accident, that can become a huge problem.
To paraphrase an approach to terrorism – we have to drive right 100% of the time to avoid an accident. To get in an accident, we only have to make one mistake. And it may be safe to say that many of the 98% of conscientious drivers make mistakes at least once in awhile.
Reckless or Aggressive Driving
In some places, the terms “reckless driving” and “aggressive driving” can be interchangeable. They are a little different, but they both are major contributors to auto accidents across the country – where it is noted that 1 in 3 auto accidents have aggressive or reckless driving as a primary factor in auto accidents.
Reckless driving is generally defined as driving with a negligent regard for traffic rules or laws with no actual intent to cause harm. Aggressive driving is more a willful disregard of traffic rules with an intent to do harm.
Driving drunk is an example of reckless driving. Road rage is an example of aggressive driving. Either one of these can cause auto accidents and even serious injuries or death.
Examples of Reckless or Aggressive Driving
When you are a defensive driver, it is always vital to be observant of other cars on the road. Being observant doesn’t just mean seeing where cars are and the flow of traffic, but it is also about knowing and seeing what other cars and driving are doing. An observant driver could watch for some aggressive or reckless driving behaviors:
- Illegal passing
- Failing to yield
- Driving excessively fast
- Improper or illegal turns
If you notice any of these behaviors from a driver near you, you would be served to try to report it to proper authorities, while also pulling away from that vehicle in a safe and calm manner. Any and all of these behaviors increase the risk of an auto accident somewhere up the road, and it is rarely going to be a one-car incident.
There are all kinds of reasons that someone could give for driving recklessly or aggressively on the roadways when confronted by a law-enforcement officer during a traffic stop. The key word to look at here is to know the difference between an “understandable” reason or excuse and a “justifiable” reason or excuse for such driving behavior.
We can enter the spoiler alert right now that there is no justifiable reason for reckless or aggressive driving. Breaking traffic laws and putting other drivers at sick can never be truly justified, especially if that driving causes an accident that leads to injuries or death.
Getting your very-pregnant wife to the hospital for delivery? That would qualify as an understandable reason. Did your father have a heart attack and you could not wait for an ambulance? That is an understandable reason. But these are not the kinds of reasons that release you from liability, nor are they reasons to necessarily have compassion and to not file a claim if you are victimized by this driving.
Understandable reasons can lead to some compassion. But they do not make the accidents any less severe or the risks that are taken any less. It is all the same, but understanding the motive behind the behavior can go a long way should you need to file a claim or defend your rights if aggressive driving by you or someone else leads to an accident. This is where a thorough investigation of the accident Is necessary through a quality Memphis personal-injury attorney.
When we mean being aggressive, we are not talking about our driving behaviors. In this case, we are talking about being aggressive in protecting and defending your rights when you are in an auto accident. Whether you were involved in an accident as an aggressive or reckless driver, or if you were a victim of a reckless driver, your rights deserve to be defended with aggression and fortitude. Contact us today for a free consultation about your auto accident.