Bad weather conditions are becoming more and more prevalent as winter approaches. Between wind, rain and snow, drivers have to be alert to the ever-changing conditions of the road. More drivers take to the roads during this time of year to visit friends and family for the holiday season. Between the number of drivers on the road and the poor weather conditions, this time of year sees more auto-related fatalities than any other.


Adding reckless driving to this already dangerous mix can only makes matters worse. Drivers need to be especially aware during heavy traffic times and bad weather conditions. There is no place for reckless driving on the road, but it should be specifically avoided during high volume holiday traffic.


In Ohio, reckless driving is defined as “operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.” To put it simply, reckless driving is carelessly operating a vehicle without regard to anyone else. If you operate your vehicle in this manner, you may face criminal charges.


As a driver, it is essential that you can recognize the signs of reckless driving, both for your safety and the safety of others. Here are a few common signs of reckless driving.


  1. Running Stop Signs or Red Lights – One aspect of reckless driving can be a disregard for traffic rules. Stop signs and yellow lights are no exception. Sometimes, drivers are trying to get somewhere quickly, and unfortunately, without regard for the drivers and people around them. Running stop signs, caution lights or red lights is already risky behavior, and that’s without wet, snowy or windy road conditions. 
  2. Driving Too Fast – Many people don’t believe that driving over the speed limit can cause any damage. But if the road is wet or icy, driving too fast can be extremely dangerous. Speed limits are created with all the dangers of a particular road. Going too fast around a turn in poor weather can cause cars to veer off the road, among other problems. 
  3. Tailgating – Reckless drivers often tailgate to get the car in front of them to either get out of the way or speed up. Unfortunately, if the car in front has to stop quickly, the reckless driver may be too close to stop before hitting them. 
  4. Rapid and Repeated Lane Changes – Reckless drivers may repeatedly and rapidly change lanes to avoid traffic. Couple this with driving too fast and inclement weather, and cars could be sliding out of control very quickly. When changing lanes rapidly, drivers do not have time to appropriately look for other cars. This can lead to one car hitting the front or back of another. If the roads are icy or wet, this can mean multiple car collisions.


Many accidents during poor weather conditions can be avoided by driving cautiously. If you see another car displaying signs of reckless driving, notify the police. While these signs may be caused by other factors, it is much better to be safe than sorry.


Erney Law wants you to be safe on the roads this holiday season. Use caution, and don’t hesitate to contact us when you need help understanding the complex legal issues involving reckless driving.