A driver is doing 60 in a 25 mph zone, and can’t stop in time when a kid’s skateboard suddenly shoots into the road, followed by the kid retrieving it.
A driver is only going half a block on what appears to be a deserted street, so ignores a one-way sign, causing a collision.
Another driver is running late for a lunch meeting, so texts her colleague from behind the wheel. In those few seconds she’s looking at her phone, the driver in front has to brake. They crash.
While these situations are all different, they have something in common: negligent driving. These drivers all violated the “duty of care,” a legal term which means the amount of caution and prudence a reasonable person would exercise in the same or similar circumstances. When a person fails to live up to these standards, he or she can be sued for negligence.
Examples of negligent driving include:
- Drunk driving
- Failure to yield
- Fatigued driving
- Looking at the scenery or ogling accidents instead of watching the road
- Driving too fast
- Ignoring signals and signage
- Texting while driving
- Illegal turns
- Backing up unsafely
- Failing to stop
- Unsafe passing
Everyday Activities Behind the Wheel
For many people, especially those with long commutes, the car becomes an extension of their home. People eat, argue, daydream, sing, put on makeup and have imaginary conversations with their partners, kids and bosses while driving down the highway at 60 or 70 miles per hour. As long as you arrive safely, you’re unlikely to question these activities. But it only takes one collision to turn the application of lipstick into a case of negligent driving.