UNITED STATES—Reckless driving can place yourself and others on the road at risk of a collision. In fact, around 33% of collisions can be attributed to reckless driving. However, what exactly is reckless driving, and do any of your regular habits qualify? Find out what types of reckless behaviors you should avoid while on the road to stay safe while on the roadways.

What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is defined differently from state to state, but in Georgia, the key is that it involves the operation of a motor vehicle with the “reckless disregard” for other drivers or property. Reckless driving can take the form of many different actions, including the following:

Driving While Distracted

It may be tempting to take that phone call, but don’t do it, Checking your phone for just a second could be all you need to wind up in a collision. Reading a book, listening to loud music, and even having a conversation may also contribute to distracted driving if you’re in an accident.

Driving Under the Influence

Mind-altering substances, even those that are legal and under the allowed BAC concentration, can be used as evidence against you to establish that you were driving recklessly if you are pulled over or get into an accident.

Weaving Through Traffic

Moving recklessly between lanes is a classic sign of reckless driving and puts yourself and other drivers on the road in danger. If other drivers don’t know what you intend to do, they can easily react in the wrong way when you do move, potentially sparking a collision.

Speeding, Racing, or Driving Faster Than is Safe Under Road Conditions

Driving too fast on the road, whether you’re speeding, racing down a road that seems empty, or simply moving too fast compared to the other cars on the road could constitute reckless driving.

Failure to Yield to Street Signs, Lights, and Signals

Streets are governed by laws, and signs, signals, and traffic lights are how they are transmitted. If you ignore them and fail to yield when required, you’re behaving unpredictably and putting others in danger.

Tailgating or Aggressively Following Another Vehicle

Tailgating, or riding too close to the rear of someone’s vehicle, is common in road rage incidents. It’s also a clear case of reckless driving, as the vehicle ahead could unexpectedly stop, causing you to collide with it.

Driving in the Shoulder to Pass Traffic

The shoulder lane is reserved exclusively for emergency use. If you use it to pass regular traffic, you’re driving recklessly and could put other drivers in danger.

Preventing Someone from Merging into a Lane

Preventing someone from merging into a lane is highly dangerous and constitutes reckless driving. Doing so could cause a collision, especially if the person trying to merge is doing so out of an emergency.

Unfortunately, many of the habits people regularly engage in count as reckless driving, especially cell phone usage. Speeding is very easy to do, especially on seemingly empty country roads. However, this also constitutes reckless driving, and you could face stiff, long-lasting penalties for trying to shave a few minutes off your commute.

What Happens if You’re Charged with Reckless Driving?

In Georgia, reckless drivers can face the following if they’re found to be guilty:

  • Up tp to 12 months in jail
  • A $1,000 fine
  • Both
  • Higher insurance rates

If you’re found to be driving in a reckless manner, it’s vital that you secure a lawyer who specializes in reckless driving cases.

A reckless driving accident can lead to extensive financial and physical damages that can take a lifetime to heal. If you’ve been involved in one, it’s vital to seek out the assistance that you need to get the settlement you need to make your life as close to whole as possible again. Working with a lawyer who is experienced in these types of accidents can give you an advantage when seeking out a settlement or lawsuit.