Driving is a skill, yet even experienced drivers should avoid certain practices to prevent accidents and fatalities. These behaviors may seem harmless, but the reality is they’re reckless. Some common ones include speeding, tailgating, weaving through traffic and passing outside of passing zones.
1. Exceeding the speed limit
Speeding is likely the most common type of reckless driving. It’s easy to justify going five to 10 mph over the limit, but the truth is that it does make a difference. The higher the speed, the likelier a vehicle will crash and the deadlier the collision will be. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 28 percent of deaths from motor vehicle crashes in 2014 were due to speeding. In Kentucky, there were 140 speed-related fatalities just in 2015, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Driving too fast makes it harder to slow down or stop quickly and easier to lose control of the vehicle.
2. Following vehicles too closely
Whether from inexperience, impatience or road rage, drivers often follow other vehicles too closely. The term for this dangerous practice is tailgating. It can result in rear-ending the vehicle in front because there’s not enough time or room to stop quickly in response to the other driver’s sudden stop or decrease in speed. Safe distance comes from following the three-second rule and doubling it in poor weather, hazardous road conditions and upper highway speeds. The rule states that it should take three seconds for the car behind to reach an object or landmark next to the car in front.
3. Weaving in and out of traffic
Impatience also leads to weaving in and out of traffic to pass slower vehicles. The combination of increased speed and constant change of position raises the chances of getting in an accident. Proper time management and route planning may eliminate the need for such reckless driving. When these aren’t enough, mindfulness techniques can help drivers reduce stress and handle the annoyance without putting themselves and others in danger.
4. Passing in a no-passing zone
Passing a slower vehicle if needed is acceptable as long as it occurs in a passing zone. These specified areas are designed for safe passing. Road sections without passing zones don’t have them for good reasons, such as poor visibility to other drivers on a hill or curve, or a passing zone for the opposite lane.
Not engaging in reckless driving greatly reduces the number of collisions. However, if a crash does happen, hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to handle insurance companies and personal injury claims.