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3 Pitfalls of Reckless Driving

Car lovers and racing enthusiasts have a deep appreciation for the skills of professional drivers. Their ability to maneuver their vehicles at high speeds against a field of competitors inspires a lot of enthusiasm and appreciation for their skills. Sometimes this excitement leads fans to try some of those racing maneuvers on public roads.

But reckless driving such as excessive speeding or racing causes serious consequences. Such driving should be left to the professionals. Below are three main reasons why you should avoid reckless driving.

What Is Reckless Driving?

Most drivers have experienced or witnessed some form of reckless driving on U.S. roadways.

Reckless drivers make bad decisions with little or no regard for the safety of other drivers and passengers on the road. Most U.S. state laws have similar definitions of reckless driving.

Driving reckless in Virginia occurs when a person drives a vehicle at a speed or in a way that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person. The most common type of reckless driving occurs when a person drives at excessive speeds. Virginia law defines several other situations, including excessive speeding, that constitute reckless driving. These include:

- Speeding more than 80 mph,

- Speeding 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit,

- Racing,

- Passing or overtaking an emergency vehicle,

- Passing a school bus,

- Passing on the crest of a hill,

- Passing at a railroad crossing,

- Driving too fast for conditions, and

- Failing to give a proper signal.

- Police officers and courts have discretion when deciding if a driver operated their vehicle recklessly. Any situation where a driver endangers the life, limb, or property of another may qualify as reckless driving.

Pitfalls of Reckless Driving

Although reckless driving in states like Virginia has decreased slightly over the past few years, it continues to pose significant risks to drivers and passengers.

In addition to serious legal consequences, reckless driving leads to thousands of deaths and far more injuries every year. While driving can often feel frustrating and inefficient, reckless driving only makes matters worse.

Below are three major reasons why drivers should avoid reckless driving.

1. Reckless Driving Leads to Serious Injuries and Death

Reckless driving continues to cause thousands of injuries and deaths every year.

In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 36.560 traffic-related fatalities. Of those deaths, 9.378 were due to excessive speeding.

Although traffic-related deaths have decreased over recent years, the number remains too high. In Virginia over Memorial Day Weekend, eight people died, and law enforcement issued 2.489 tickets for reckless driving.

Crashes that involve higher speeds or reckless driving also often cause more severe injuries. In 2017, speeding caused approximately 26% of all traffic-related fatalities.

Some serious injuries associated with reckless driving include:

- Permanent disfigurement,

- Partial or total loss of a bodily function,

- Head trauma resulting in temporary or permanent brain injury, and

- Partial or total paralysis.

Other studies show that head-on crashes can cause serious or fatal injuries at speeds as low as 20 mph.

The bottom line: reckless driving increases the chances and severity of car-crash-related injuries.

2. Reckless Driving Carries Serious Legal Consequences

Driving reckless in Virginia can lead to substantial legal and financial consequences.

Convictions for reckless driving are Class 1 misdemeanors. This is a serious offense that will become part of your criminal record.

Class 1 misdemeanors carry criminal penalties, including:

- Up to one year in jail,

- A $2.500 fine, and

- A six-month suspension of your license.

Situations like this may require a VA reckless driving lawyer, such as Andrew Flusche. In addition, you may need to pay for and take driving classes, pay for court costs and fees, and hire and pay for an attorney. Reckless driving charges can add up quickly, and a conviction may affect you for years to come.

3. Reckless Driving Takes a Heavy Toll on Your Car

While this may seem obvious if you are involved in a crash, reckless driving can significantly damage a vehicle even where a collision doesn’t occur.

Reckless driving usually involves driving at unsafe speeds and thus usually requires sudden and aggressive braking. Braking hard can substantially damage your car's brake pads.

Some examples of damage to your brakes include:

- Excessive wear on your brake pads requiring more frequent replacements and repairs; and

- Damage to rotors from overheating.

Besides damage to your brakes, aggressive and sudden braking places stress on almost every other part of the vehicle. The suspension may suffer damage as the car’s weight places stress on the forward shocks and spring compressors. Even transmissions and clutches may suffer undue strain requiring more frequent repairs and replacements.

In the racing world, race car drivers place their cars under significant stress during a race. Pit crews often must replace brakes, change tires, or even overhaul engines during or after each race.

Unless you have multi-million dollar sponsorships or unlimited funding, reckless driving will likely stack up some serious car repair bills.

Reckless Driving Is Not Worth the Risk

Although driving fast and making racing-like maneuvers may sound enticing, reckless driving carries too many risks. Besides the risk to your own safety and the safety of other drivers and passengers, reckless driving convictions carry heavy penalties. It can also wear out your car and put a major dent in your finances. Leave the risks and dangers of reckless driving to the professionals and enjoy the thrill and excitement of a good race from the comfort and safety of the sidelines.

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