Knock it off: eight inexcusable driving habits

Aggravating factors contributing to car accidents

Ordinary car accidents that cause injuries are all bad. But there is an entire class of driving situations that are even worse. These are the accidents when the driver willfully displays an indifference to the people he (or she) injures.

We call them aggravating factors. You are familiar with every single one of them, but you never have seen them all together on one page. All are rooted not in car part failure or dangerous roadways but in good old human nature. All these factors are 100 percent avoidable.

Juries are sensitive to these behaviors and can sometimes be persuaded to tack on punitive damages:

  1. Drunk driving. This is the king of aggravating factors. It is a despicable act to get into your car and drive off, knowing you have a load of ethanol in your system. The public has declared war on drunk driving, and allows punitive damages to make an object lesson of drivers who ignore this simple rule.
  2. Drugged driving. Likewise, it is common sense that if you are high on drugs, you should not be operating an automobile, motorcycle or truck. This includes meth, cocaine, illegal prescription pills, marijuana and other controlled substances.
  3. Speeding. Yes, it is a common thing for people to slightly exceed the speeding limit - everyone does it, and police often look the other way. But it is one thing to exceed the posted limit by three or four miles per hour, and another to exceed it by 20 mph. And when a heavy foot ruins an innocent person's life, you will find yourself in the crosshairs of the law.
  4. Reckless driving. This could include speeding, racing through a light, turning without signaling, unpredictable lane changes, ignoring crosswalk rights.
  5. Bad driving. Yes, drivers who simply don't have sufficient skills at the wheel should consider not driving, at least in certain situations.
  6. Various kinds of distracted driving. Safety experts are moving toward the conclusion that more accidents and injuries are caused by stupid behavior - applying makeup, eating a Whopper, ignoring the road to yell at your kids - may be responsible for more serious injuries than drunk driving.
  7. Texting while driving. This, plus cellphone use and distracting phone apps like Pokemon Go and GPS, are perhaps the most serious form of distracted driving.
  8. Driving while fatigued. You may not think you are being morally to blame when you are just trying to get home, or just trying to make a delivery on schedule. But once your fatigue or drowsy state or over-the-counter cold medicine causes you to ruin another person's life, you may feel differently.

If you have been victimized by any of these behaviors, we at the Gold Law Firm want to talk with you.

If you are guilty of any of these aggravating factors - knock it off. People shouldn't die because you don't take driving seriously.

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