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How to Spot a Negligent Driver, and What To Do Once You Have

Posted on 09/04/23 by admin in Auto Accidents

Many of us are taught the basic principles of “defensive driving” when learning first learning to operate a car. This term refers to a loose set of practices meant to account for the irresponsibility and occasionally unpredictable behavior of our fellow motorists. You can’t control the behavior of the driver in the vehicle next to you but you can control your own conduct behind the wheel, so goes the thinking. But how are we meant to draw the line between simple irresponsibility and potentially-life-threatening negligence? Today’s blog will teach you to spot negligent drivers on the road, and provide some tips for dealing with them safely.

negligent driver

Defining Negligent Behavior Behind the Wheel

Negligence refers to carless conduct which leads to the injury of another person. When discussing car accidents, negligence generally refers to one of two general categories of misbehavior behind the wheel.

  • A negligent action (running stop signs, driving in excess of the speed limit)
  • A negligent failure to take action (driving at night or in rain without headlights, braking late, not seeing a pedestrian)

Identifying Negligent Drivers on the Road

So then we have a broad idea of what constitutes negligence, but what do the symptoms of negligence look like? Smoke indicates fire and heavy rains can warn of flooding, but how can you guess whether a driver next to you is behaving in a way which could lead to a negligent car accident?
One key category of negligence is distracted driving, especially involving cell phones. The rise of the smartphone age saw an explosion of car accidents attributed to texting while driving. If you notice the driver of a car near you is texting, talking in handset mode, or otherwise paying attention to their phone whilst behind the wheel, it may be wise to give them a wide berth.

Another symptom of negligence behind the wheel is chemically impaired or drowsy driving. In fact these conditions, medically speaking, can often be rather similar. Thanks to law enforcement’s long record of identifying and arresting drivers under the influence, we have a dependable set of warning signs for the layperson to spot negligent impaired drivers. These include:

  • Difficulty staying in one lane.
  • Veering into neighboring lanes.
  • Driving in oncoming traffic.
  • Driving at night without headlights.
  • Illegal or dangerous turns with wide radii and no signal.
  • Driving too slow or too fast.
  • Reckless or aggressive driving.
  • Failure to respond to traffic signals.

negligent driver

Keeping Yourself Safe Around a Negligent Driver

So what actions should be taken if you encounter a negligent driver? We have three major principles to keep in mind.

  1. Keep Your Distance – A foundational principle of defensive driving. Fairly self-explanatory. Staying as far as possible away from a dangerous driver means that should they experience an accident, it is less likely that you’ll be caught in the wreck.
  2. Don’t Get Involved – You may have an urge to intervene if the opportunity presents itself. We do not recommend this. Attempting to communicate your concerns will likely anger the other driver. A “road rage” incident may threaten your health even more directly than reckless driving. Their conduct, however unsafe, is not your responsibility.
  3. Call 911 – In severe cases, where you suspect injury and tragedy are imminent, contacting emergency authorities may be the best route. Be sure to provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible, including your location, the conduct of the negligent driver, and the make and model of vehicle they’re traveling in. A license plate number will also help police locate the driver.

negligent driver

How Malloy Law Can Help

Even when safety is prioritized and all the necessary precautions are taken, accidents still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver, Malloy Law can help. We’re proud to employ a diverse and empathetic team, home to the DMV’s car accident specialists. We’ll evaluate your case and draft a plan of action to win maximum compensation for your injuries, damaged property, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact Malloy Law today to get started.