Difference Between Reckless Driving and Careless Driving

Difference Between Reckless Driving and Careless Driving

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving another leading cause of driving fatalities. A person who drives a motor vehicle with “wanton disregard.” The driver is aware of and consciously disregarding the risk that their driving may harm another person’s property.

Below are examples of reckless driving:

  • driving a car with faulty or poorly-adjusted brakes
  • driving next to another vehicle while on a one-lane road
  • failing to yield
  • racing another vehicle
  • driving too fast for the conditions
  • driving a vehicle that is overloaded causing view obstruction
  • failing to signal
  • spinning out your wheels
  • endangering people or property in areas open to the public
  • illegally passing:
    • on a hill or slope;
    • two vehicles at once;
    • at an intersection;
    • a school bus while stopped;
    • while approaching or in a curve;
    • at a railroad crossing; and
    • while pedestrians are around.

Careless Driving

Careless driving rarely includes deliberate disregard or extreme indifference to the rights of others. However, someone who endangers or is likely to endanger property or any person, including the driver or passengers of the vehicle, is guilty of careless driving. The definition varies from state to state. In some states, reckless driving is also called careless driving or dangerous driving.

Below are examples of careless driving:

  • tailgating – following too closely
  • braking too quickly without warning
  • passing a vehicle on the right
  • accidentally driving through a red light
  • taking your focus off the road
  • eating, drinking, or smoking while driving
  • slowing down to watch an accident

Examples that may include actions that are inconsiderate of other vehicle operators on the road:

  • driving too slowly for conditions
  • unnecessarily remaining in a passing lane
  • flashing bright lights repeatedly
  • changing lanes repeatedly
  • moving into an unsuitable gap

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