Are Overly Cautious Drivers Responsible for the Atlanta Car Accidents They Cause?
While most Atlanta drivers understand the risk of serious auto collisions caused by speeding drivers, a study of collisions in the UK indicates that those who drive too slowly may pose a comparable danger of causing serious traffic accidents.
The study found that nearly a third of all drivers have experienced a near miss involving motorists who are driving at such a low rate of speed that they obstruct the flow of traffic. The report concludes that slow drivers are so dangerous that they should be treated similarly to drivers who exceed the speed limit.
Drivers that travel far below the speed limit and disrupt the flow of traffic may cause frustration and anxiety in other drivers so that faster moving motorists feel the need to overtake slow moving vehicles. Many collisions are caused by passing and overtaking driving maneuvers so traffic safety experts recommend driving laws that promote the smooth flow of traffic with a minimum of stoppages and disruptions. The study revealed that sixty percent of all motorists that happen upon slow moving drivers feel compelled to overtake the slower vehicle. The researchers consider the problem so serious they advocate strict enforcement of minimum speed limits and even the use of traffic cameras to penalize slow drivers.
Slow driving is just one form of overly cautious driving that can constitute negligence in certain circumstances. Liability for most traffic accidents is based on the law of negligence, which in simple terms refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care for the safety of others to avoid causing foreseeable injury. While slow drivers may play a substantial role in causing many car accidents, it is often the other motorist who will be legally at-fault.
When a driver engages in sudden unexpected and unnecessary stops, for example, the driver that rear-ends the overly cautious driver usually will be legally at-fault. While the driver who unexplainably slams on the brakes in the middle of a block or while traveling on the freeway may have “caused” the accident according to the way people use this term in ordinary conversation, the law imposes a duty on all drivers to travel at a speed and following distance that permits one to stop when traffic stops. While the overly cautious driver may be assigned some portion of fault as comparative negligence, the driver who rear-ended the other vehicle will in most circumstanes bear the lion-share of the fault. Every situation is different of course, and depends on the facts.
This is not necessarily inconsistent with the findings of the UK report about pokey drivers. The report indicated that slow drivers cause car accidents primarily because they motivate other drivers to engage in driving maneuvers that are associated with a higher rate of auto collisions. It is generally the case in such situations that we impose most, if not all, of the fault in these situations on the driver who commits the hazardous driving practice like unsafe passing rather than the driver who motivated this maneuver. Although this is not always the case, it is fair to generalize that proving the fault of a speeding driver typically will be easier than proving the fault of a vehicle moving too slowly.
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