How Do I Spot A Dangerous Driver And What Steps Should I Take To Avoid An Accident?

Knowing how to spot a dangerous driver in front, behind, or around you, can greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a serious wreck, especially if you know what to do when you spot them.  

Red Flags Of A Dangerous Driver:

“You know it when you see it.”  Typically, spotting bad drivers is pretty easy, and at least for me, when I do, I automatically try to distance myself from them.  So, what are some of the warning signs of a bad driver near you?

Excessive speeding.  Ever have a car fly past you on the causeway, obviously going way over the speed limit?  These drivers usually have overinflated confidence in their driver ability and can get in trouble quickly when unexpected obstructions appear in front of them.

Going way below the speed limit.  From one extreme (excessive speeding) to another (driving too slow).  Everyone wants to slow down and take in the scenery at times, but driving on the highway is not one of those times.  Whether it is on Hwy 21, Military Rd., Hwy 25, or Hwy 190, these drivers usually believe (incorrectly) that driving slow decreases the chance of accidents.  In fact, slow driving can be just as dangerous as speeding. 

Riding the brakes.  Ever drive behind someone whose brake lights keep coming on, even on straightaways where there are no red lights in site?  These drivers are typically unsure of their own driving abilities, don’t know where they are going, or both. 

Not going when the light turns green.  A tell-tale sign that someone is not paying attention (and probably looking at their phone) is when the light turns green, and seconds go by without them going.  What’s really bad is when there are two lanes and NEITHER driver goes when the light turns green because BOTH are on their phones.  Yikes!  

Weaving in and out of traffic.  I’m sure you have seen drivers on Hwy 190 weaving in and out of traffic, acting like they are in the Indy 500!  What’s funny is when you come to the next red light and that driver is no further along for his efforts.  While this driver may have the skills of Mario Andretti, he is likely not accounting for the unpredictable actions of the motorists around him, leading to an accident.

Riding too close.  I love that bumper sticker: “If you are close enough to read this, you are too close.”  This driver has obviously disregarded the two or three-second rule (leaving enough distance between you and the driver ahead of you to allow 2-3 seconds to go by).  Unfortunately, a human’s typical reaction time (the time it takes from perceiving a threat to braking) is about 1.5 seconds, so the tailgater is bound to get into trouble sooner or later.

Steps To Take When You Spot A Dangerous Driver:

So, what do you do if you encounter any of the dangerous drivers listed above?  There are several steps you can take in order to help avoid an accident.

First, distance yourself.  If you spot a dangerous driver around you, do as you would with a bad relationship and start distancing yourself (literally) from the bad driver.  This doesn’t mean slamming on your brakes.  Instead, if the driver is in front of you, slowly allow distance to build up between you so that you won’t be a part of any accident they may cause in front of you. 

If you are starting to get annoyed with a slow driver or someone riding their brakes, use extreme caution if you choose to pass them.  Remember, they may be lost or looking to turn.  If you find yourself getting really frustrated, maybe it is time to safely pull over and allow that set of vehicles to go by before getting back on the road. 

If a driver is following you too closely, don’t slam on your brakes to prove a point!  Nothing good will come of that.  Instead, if you are on a multi-lane highway, put your turn signal on and change lanes, allowing them to pass.  If you can’t change lanes and you are worried that they are really getting too close, pull over at the nearest exit.  Even if this slows you down, a brief delay is better than getting in an accident.

Finally, if you see a driver whom you suspect is drunk or is driving erratically, call 911 and report them.  Hopefully the police can intervene and prevent a serious accident.

Have You Been Involved In A Wreck Caused By A Dangerous Driver?

 If you have been involved in a wreck caused by a dangerous driver, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.

Grady Flattmann
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Local Covington, Louisiana attorney focusing 100% on personal injury matters.