5 extremely dangerous driving behaviors

Night, high-speed carThere are many different driving behaviors that can put a driver at risk of causing an injurious or fatal car accident, prompting the victims involved to seek the assistance of a Wheeling car accident lawyer. However, some dangerous driving behaviors are more common on the roads in Illinois than others.

1. Drunk driving

In Illinois, it is illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or higher. When drivers disobey this law, they face the severe penalties associated with DUI, which may include heavy fines and the requirement to spend time in prison.

Despite these consequences, many drivers disregard the legal BAC level limit and drive in an intoxicated state, causing others to suffer from serious injuries or pass away. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day in the U.S., 30 people die and many more are injured in accidents involving an impaired driver. This means that for every 51 minutes that passes, another person dies in a drunk driving collision.

2. Distracted driving

Contrary to popular belief, distracted driving is more than just cellphone use and includes any activity that takes a driver’s full attention away from operating a vehicle. For example, a driver can become distracted when he or she:

  • Attempts to eat or drink while operating a vehicle
  • Tries to perform personal grooming activities, like shaving or putting on makeup, behind the wheel
  • Switches the station on the radio
  • Interacts with other passengers in the vehicle
  • Takes his or her eyes away from the wheel to look for something on the backseat of the car
  • Looks at a GPS devices to get directions to his or her destination

Although any form of distracted driving can endanger the lives of others, many drivers are confident in their ability to multitask and continue to participate in activities like these behind the wheel. As a result, many drivers, passengers and pedestrians become seriously injured or pass away in distracted driving accident every day. The CDC states that on a daily basis in the U.S., more than nine people die and over 1,153 people are injured in collisions involving driver distraction.

3. Drowsy driving

Although the majority of drivers recognize that falling asleep while operating a vehicle is dangerous, many do not realize that driving in a sleep-deprived state is still hazardous. Drivers who try to operate a vehicle after not getting enough sleep may experience slowed reaction times and find that their ability to make decisions is compromised. Drowsy drivers may also be less attentive to what is going on around them.

Some drivers are more likely to drive drowsy than others. For example, commercial drivers, those who work night shifts or long shifts, drivers who use sedating medications and drivers who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to try and drive a vehicle in a sleep-deprived state than other drivers.

Currently, experts are not able to determine how many car accidents involve drowsy driving every year. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2 percent of injury crashes and 2.5 percent of fatal crashes are caused by drowsy drivers, it is believed that as many as 6,000 car accidents could be caused by drowsy driving on a yearly basis.

4. Aggressive driving

Many accidents victims work with a Wheeling car accident lawyer after sustaining injuries in an accident caused by a driver who exhibited aggressive behavior behind the wheel. When drivers speed, tailgate other drivers, run red lights or stop signs, pass other vehicles in an improper manner or weave in and out of other vehicles, they operate a vehicle in an aggressive manner.

Some aggressive driving behaviors are more common than others. For example, according to an analysis performed by the NHTSA, researchers found that speeding was the leading dangerous driving behavior present in fatal crashes that occurred in 2011. This dangerous driving behavior was followed by drunk driving and distracted driving.

Although it is difficult to determine exactly how many accidents are caused by aggressive driving, much like drowsy driving, a study conducted by the American Automobile Association in 2009 discovered that this dangerous driving behavior was a factor in 56 percent of fatal accidents that occurred between 2003 and 2007.

5. Reckless driving

Drivers can endanger the lives of others on the road with them when they drive a vehicle in a way that not only is unsafe, but also shows a disregard for the rules of the road. For example, a reckless driver may try to pass another vehicle on a two-lane highway when he or she can see that there is oncoming traffic or when he or she tries to elude a law enforcement official. A driver is also reckless when he or she drives 25 miles per hour over the speed limit or tries to race with another car.

Compared with other drivers, teenagers are most likely to engage in reckless driving behaviors. This is because, according to the CDC, teenage drivers are less likely to recognize hazardous situations and are more likely to underestimate the dangers of certain driving situations or behaviors.

Drivers, passengers or pedestrians who are injured in an accident caused by a drunk, drowsy, distracted, aggressive or reckless driver may experience financial, physical and emotional harm. Accident victims who are worried about how they will manage the expenses associated with necessary medical and rehabilitative care may benefit from speaking with a Wheeling car accident lawyer about what compensation is available to them.

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