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Driving is a dangerous business, and it’s even more hazardous if you are a reckless driver. A reckless driver risks their own life and the lives of those around them. There can also be severe legal consequences for reckless driving, including getting a ticket or going to jail. Being careless behind the wheel can also affect your driving record and insurance.
Read on to learn just what constitutes reckless driving and how much you might have to shell out to cover a reckless driving ticket. Careless driving can affect your record and insurance as well as other areas of your life, so we have some tips for what you can do if you or a friend struggles with this problem.
What is reckless driving?
If you drive so that people are not safe around you – you are a reckless driver. Examples include weaving in and out of traffic, not obeying traffic lights and signs and tailgating. You have no regard for the lives and property of others when you drive this way.
How much is a ticket for reckless driving?
Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor traffic offense and results in a ticket ranging from US$50 to US$2,500. The fee is closer to US$2,500 when your driving causes bodily injuries or death. The more careless you are on the road, the more likely you will get into an accident.
Not only do you get a ticket for causing an accident by driving recklessly, but you can also serve time in jail, especially if you get caught a second time. The maximum jail time you can get is one year, and the minimum is 90 days.
How does reckless driving affect your driving record and car insurance?
Depending on the state you live in, reckless driving can put between two and eight points on your driving record. In addition, if you are a repeat offender, you can get your license suspended or even revoked.
A reckless driving charge can stay on your record for up to 11 years. It’s also very difficult to get your record expunged when you get caught driving recklessly.
Insurance providers take this problem very seriously. Sometimes, insurance companies will cancel your coverage if you are a reckless driver. Even if they don’t cancel your policy, you can be sure that they will increase your rates. Some drivers have seen their rates increase by over 50% after being charged with this offense.
Besides affecting your record and your insurance, reckless driving can also affect your career and job opportunities. For example, jobs that require you to drive company vehicles will be less likely to hire you if you are known to drive recklessly.
Having this charge on your record will also make it difficult to get a position in government. This is because government jobs often look for candidates with spotless driving records.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are getting laid off and scrambling to find work. Rest assured that reckless driving won’t help you keep your job or find a job if you lose yours – so it’s just not worth it.
What can you do if you are a reckless driver?
The most common reason many engage in reckless driving is that they’re in a rush or running late. If you find yourself struggling with reckless driving, try these three suggestions to make a positive change:
- Slow down – Your life and the lives of those around you are precious. Don’t put them in danger just because you’re late for your appointment. Even if you’re late for work, don’t rush. It’s better to get there late than end up in jail, or worse.
- Obey the traffic laws – You now know some of the consequences of reckless driving. Those consequences should be enough incentive to abide by the law. Keep in mind that traffic laws are in place for a reason. Choose to do the right thing and drive responsibly.
- Stay alert – One form of reckless driving is drowsy driving. This happens when you’re overtired and make unwise decisions on the road. If you find yourself getting fatigued, pull over and get some coffee. Go to a restroom and splash water on your face. Do whatever you can to wake up. Or, find somewhere to take a power nap, even if it’s in your car for 30 minutes to an hour.
Doing these three things can help save you from the financial, emotional and physical penalties of reckless driving. It will also keep you and others on the road from getting into an accident and potentially being injured or dying.
What should you do if a friend drives recklessly?
Maybe you are not a reckless driver, but you know someone who is. The first thing you can do for your friend is bring their behavior to their attention. Sometimes, people don’t realize what they’re doing until you point it out to them. Gently and lovingly tell them what you are seeing.
Another option is to volunteer to be the driver when you go places with them. It could mean saving a life if you don’t let them drive.
Finally, you could choose to not ride with them at all. If your friend doesn’t change their reckless behavior, it’s best not to go with them in their car. If you don’t drive but depend on them to take you places, consider using driving services like Uber or Lyft instead to help you get where you need to go.
What about if you see someone driving recklessly?
When you’re out and about on the road, you might see a reckless driver from time to time. What do you do? Here are some suggestions on what you can do at that moment:
- Stay out of their way – Do not engage someone who is recklessly driving. Steer clear from them as much as possible.
- Get their license plate – They’re committing a crime. Make sure to get their license plate so you can report them. They’re a danger to others and themselves at this point.
- Call the police – As soon as you get their plates, you can alert the authorities of their behavior.
Reckless driving is dangerous
Reckless driving should be avoided at all costs. It’s too dangerous, and the stakes are too high. You risk your life, others’ lives, your job, your finances and so much more when you choose to drive carelessly.
So, remember to slow down and obey all traffic laws in your area. Don’t risk your future with this kind of behavior. It’s not worth it.
This article was contributed by Peyton Leonard, who writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsuranceEZ.com. Peyton is passionate about helping drivers to stay safe on the road.
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