Understanding Reckless Driving vs. Aggressive Driving

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on October 11, 2023

. Updated on January 4, 2024


reckless driving honking hornMany people think of reckless driving and aggressive driving as being the same thing. While both behaviors are illegal in Indiana, they do not mean the same thing. However, they can both lead to a dangerous crash that causes serious harm to themselves and others.

In this blog, Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak discuss how aggressive and reckless driving differ and the penalties drivers could face for engaging in these illegal driving behaviors in Indiana. We also discuss what you can do to help avoid a crash if you encounter dangerous drivers.

Have you been injured in a car crash due to a reckless driver? If so, we encourage you to seek legal help right away. Our knowledgeable South Bend car accident attorneys are prepared to discuss your situation and help you pursue compensation for your damages. If you have a case and we represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay.

Call our firm 24/7 to request your free case review. (844)-678-1800

How Does Indiana Law Define Reckless And Aggressive Driving?

According to the Indiana government, about one-third of all Indiana traffic fatalities occur due to dangerous driving. Aggressive driving and reckless driving are two dangerous behaviors that can lead to a crash. While both driving behaviors are also illegal, they are not exactly the same.

What Behaviors Best Describe Reckless Drivers?

Reckless drivers do not intend to cause harm to others. However, they still choose to engage in risky driving behaviors and violate traffic laws, putting themselves and others at risk. One example of reckless driving is when someone does not use a turn signal before switching lanes. If that failure leads to a crash, that driver can still be held liable for the damages.

Another example of reckless driving is when someone ignores a stop sign because they are in a hurry. Some drivers may often ignore stop signs when traveling through familiar neighborhoods. However, this type of careless driving violates Indiana traffic laws and could also cause serious harm to others.

Other common behaviors of reckless drivers include:

  • Driving while distracted
  • Not using turn signals
  • Driving slower or faster than the speed limit
  • Trying to beat a yellow light
  • Not checking blind spots
  • Passing school buses that are stopped and have the arm-signal device extended
  • Passing vehicles on a slope or curve when the range of visibility is less than 500 feet

These reckless behaviors put both drivers and others sharing the road at risk of serious harm.

How Is Aggressive Driving Different From Reckless Driving?

While reckless drivers genuinely may not be deliberately trying to hurt anyone, aggressive drivers have a different focus. Their behaviors are deliberate and have no regard for the high risk of danger they are causing others by their actions.

Aggressive driving behaviors may include:

  • High-speed racing
  • Following other vehicles too closely (tailgating)
  • Laying on the car horn
  • Blocking cars at entrances or lanes
  • Blowing through red lights
  • Dangerously darting in and out of traffic
  • Purposely cutting off other vehicles and then brake-checking

Aggressive drivers who are running late may get angry when other drivers in front of them are driving slowly. This scenario is the main reason aggressive drivers may tailgate. Some aggressive drivers may simply become provoked because they are angry about a personal situation and take it out on other drivers. This is a common scenario where aggressive driving can quickly turn into acts of road rage.

What Penalties Could Reckless or Aggressive Drivers Face in Indiana?

Drivers who engage in reckless or aggressive driving behaviors break the law. In Indiana, those who get caught could get a ticket, points on their license, fines and possibly jail time, even for first offenders.

Reckless drivers may not intend to cause harm to other drivers. However, they can still face penalties for this illegal behavior, even if they are first-time offenders.

The following are some of the penalties that reckless drivers face:

Indiana residents who receive a ticket can present their case to a judge. If you do decide to take the option of fighting a ticket, seek legal assistance so you have the best possibility of getting your desired result.

An aggressive driver in Indiana can face fines and jail time. If aggressive drivers display hostile behavior in a work zone, they may face felony charges. Insinuating or causing violence to a worker in a construction zone may be evidence used against aggressive drivers to convict felony charges.

How To Handle Aggressive Drivers

If you encounter a reckless or aggressive driver on the road, it is important to stay calm. Try to give them space and avoid any actions, like honking your horn, that could make them angrier.

If an aggressive driver starts tailgating you, try looking for space in the lane next to you and move over when it is safe to do so. Most of the time, aggressive drivers just want to get on their way.

If an aggressive driver continues to follow you, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Do your best to stay calm and try to avoid eye contact with the other driver.
  • Try to locate a landmark or road sign.
  • Call 9-1-1 to report the situation and where you are located.
  • Give the dispatcher as much information about the other car as possible.
  • Do not pull over, get out of your car or confront the angry driver.

Additionally, do not go home when someone is following you. You do not want this type of person to know where you live. Stay where there is plenty of traffic and people around to witness what is happening. You can also try driving to a well-lit parking lot where people are around or go to a local police station.

Call Our South Bend Attorneys Today

Aggressive and reckless drivers greatly increase the risk of a crash and put others in harm’s way.

If you get injured in a crash caused by an aggressive or reckless driver, you do not have to navigate the complex legal system on your own. Statistics show that working with an attorney can significantly increase the amount of compensation you recover for your damages.

At Peifer Morgan & Stesiak, we work hard to protect your legal interests and are dedicated to holding at-fault drivers accountable for the damages they cause. We offer a free, no-risk consultation. If you choose our firm to represent you, there are no upfront fees to pay. We only get paid if you do.

Proven Results. Millions Recovered.(844)-678-1800

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

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