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  • Careless Driving?

    About a month ago, I was involved in an automobile accident. I was driving the speed limit (45 m.p.h.), and was planning on changing lanes. In order to make sure I wasn't going to hit anyone in the process of changing lanes, I took a few seconds to look out my windows to make sure that there weren't any cars approaching in the next lane. Needless to say, I never got to change lanes because by the time I looked back, I noticed that the car which had been driving in front of me was suddenly at a complete stop, trying to turn into a business complex. There was little to no time to brake, so I crashed head-on into the other vehicle at almost 45 m.p.h. I sustained injuries (2 badly sprained ankles), and my car was totalled. The other driver sustained no injuries, but the rear bumper of his car was pretty badly damaged. Before the ambulance came, I told the officer exactly what had happened, and 2 weeks later I received a careless driving ticket in the mail. I am planning on fighting it, only because I don't feel that I was acting or driving carelessly, and I've always had a clean driving record and can't afford 3 points on my license.

    My question is: would you personally have issued a careless driving citation to someone who was taking precautionary measures to avoid one possible accident, and unknowingly caused an accident anyway because of those precautionary measures? I mean really, don't they teach you in Driver's Ed. to look out your rear window for oncoming traffic before you switch lanes, knowing that this action would of course divert your attention away from the traffic in front of you for a few moments? Under the right set of unforeseen circumstances, anyone could cause an accident. Isn't that why they're called "accidents"?

  • #2
    I'm not going to parse your post, but I have taken a look at it and will tell you this. I'm not going to critique, second guess, analyze, or Monday Morning quarterback the actions of another Officer. In this case, that's the Officer who cited you in the accident. You didn't crash head-on with the other vehicle, you rear ended it. Traffic laws in all fifty states require that you allow sufficient distance between your vehicle, and a vehicle in front of you, for you to be able to stop in the circumstances you describe. The fact that you obviously didn't stop in sufficient time places YOU at fault in the accident. This notwithstanding your efforts at a safe lane change. Your situation is analogous to the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. Stated another way, all the while you were attempting to make a safe lane change, you failed to observe and avoid a vehicle which had stopped in front of you. Your efforts at a safe lane change do not mitigate the fact that were negligent, and thus at fault in the collision. You have the right to contest the citation, and no one on this forum would deny you that right. Finally, in response to your question. Current Alabama Law would prohibit me from citing you in the collision, but I would find you at fault. If Alabama Law permitted it, I would also have cited you. Hope you were wanting an honest reply, because that's what you got. More will no doubt follow.

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    • #3
      Fifteen minutes can save you hundreds of dollars on your car insurance by switching to blind-spot mirrors






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      • #4
        Originally posted by Akasha487 View Post
        Under the right set of unforeseen circumstances, anyone could cause an accident. Isn't that why they're called "accidents"?
        Actually, they are rarely "called" accidents by officers and many insurance companies are getting rid of the term. Accident implies zero fault, but here you were clearly at fault. BTW, that car in front of you didn't slow down to a complete stop in the "few seconds" you took to check your window (which doesn't even take a few seconds).

        Your actions caused a wreck, bottom line.

        Philip above me couldn't have given you a citation, but I can/would have in my jurisidiction.

        You probably aren't a bad person and I'm sure you didn't mean to cause this wreck. It happens. I once pulled out in front of a car and got plowed. Totally my fault and I got cited. You just have to take the ticket and move on with your life.

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        • #5
          I wouldn't have given you a ticket for careless driving I would have given you a ticket for speed not reasonable and prudent, why you may ask....because you failed to control your speed to avoid the collision. You were following the car in front of you way to closely, that much is obvious due to the fact you rear ended him. He didn't stop suddenly you were just following to closely and weren't paying attention. Not sure what the laws are in PA for careless driving but here it would be the citation that I mentioned.

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          • #6
            In CT, I would have given you a Following too close for $127.00 No points if the fine is paid on time. You were at fault and you rightly received a ticket. Pay up.

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            • #7
              You always have the choice to fight it if you disagree.

              Here, I could of written you for following too closely, failed to keep a safe distance, too fast for conditions or possibly even careless driving depending on the circumstances. Most people don't spend a "few seconds" looking out the window to make a lane change. Like you experienced, A LOT can happen in a "few seconds" when you're traveling at 45mph with other traffic. Because you weren't paying attention to the road/traffic ahead of you, I can see a decent argument for careless driving.

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              • #8
                It's the few seconds thing that bothers me. You check your mirrors and take a quick glance over your shoulder to ensure the blindspot is clear and make your movement. If you are taking a few seconds to do that, you are taking a few seconds to long.
                Today's Quote:

                "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                Albert Einstein

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by HotSoup View Post
                  He didn't stop suddenly you were just following to closely and weren't paying attention.
                  Actually, the other driver admitted to stopping suddenly, because he had missed his turn. There were also 13 witnesses who agreed. They did also agree that I had made no effort to stop (as I wasn't looking), and I do not deny fault in the accident. I don't deny that if I hadn't been looking at my window, I most likely would have been able to avoid the collision. However, I was following all traffic laws, i.e. speed, distance between vehicles, etc.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Akasha487 View Post
                    Actually, the other driver admitted to stopping suddenly, because he had missed his turn. There were also 13 witnesses who agreed. They did also agree that I had made no effort to stop (as I wasn't looking), and I do not deny fault in the accident. I don't deny that if I hadn't been looking at my window, I most likely would have been able to avoid the collision. However, I was following all traffic laws, i.e. speed, distance between vehicles, etc.
                    You got a CARELESS driving ticket because you admitted to the officer who wrote you and us that you deserved a CARELESS driving ticket. See your above answer, that is why you got a careless driving ticket.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michigan View Post
                      You got a CARELESS driving ticket because you admitted to the officer who wrote you and us that you deserved a CARELESS driving ticket. See your above answer, that is why you got a careless driving ticket.
                      I would be dishonest if I said the accident wasn't my fault. However, my point is that I was not being careless. I was following all traffic laws, and simply looking out my window to be careful before I switched lanes. I might be at fault for the accident itself, simply because I couldn't avoid it, but I don't see how the actions which led up to the accident were careless. Please do tell me how following at a safe distance (which I was; the other driver admitted to stopping short), driving the speed limit, and looking out my window before changing lanes are careless actions.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 775 View Post
                        In CT, I would have given you a Following too close for $127.00 No points if the fine is paid on time. You were at fault and you rightly received a ticket. Pay up.
                        I would most certainly pay up for a ticket like that, as I admit I was at fault. Paying money isn't the issue in this case. I just don't believe that I was careless in any way, and certainly not to the point which would warrant 3 points on my driving record.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Akasha487 View Post
                          I would be dishonest if I said the accident wasn't my fault. However, my point is that I was not being careless. I was following all traffic laws, and simply looking out my window to be careful before I switched lanes. I might be at fault for the accident itself, simply because I couldn't avoid it, but I don't see how the actions which led up to the accident were careless. Please do tell me how following at a safe distance (which I was; the other driver admitted to stopping short), driving the speed limit, and looking out my window before changing lanes are careless actions.
                          I get what your saying. What you're not understanding is that by not properly looking out your windows you were being negligent or CARELESS. Instead of the word careless, use negligent. Don't get careless and reckless confused....they are not the same thing. Reckless would mean you did something intentional and willingly...no one is saying that. You caused the accident by being a negligent or careless driver.

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                          • #14
                            http://www.pennsylvania-criminal-def...essdriving.htm

                            It would have been Inattentive Driving and Following Too Close in my state.
                            Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Akasha487 View Post
                              Actually, the other driver admitted to stopping suddenly, because he had missed his turn. There were also 13 witnesses who agreed. They did also agree that I had made no effort to stop (as I wasn't looking), and I do not deny fault in the accident. I don't deny that if I hadn't been looking at my window, I most likely would have been able to avoid the collision. However, I was following all traffic laws, i.e. speed, distance between vehicles, etc.
                              Doesn't matter I'd still give you the ticket for speed not reasonable and prudent due to the fact, whether the vehicle in front of you stopped suddenly or not you failed to control your speed to avoid the accident....makes no difference if you were going the speed limit if you hit the vehicle in front of you then you were driving to fast to avoid the collision.

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