Under Missouri law, all motorists are required to drive "in a careful
and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property
of another or the life and limb of any person and [to] exercise the highest
degree of care." Unfortunately, many drivers fail to exercise this
level of caution when they're on the road. In fact, careless and negligent
drivers often cause
car accidents that result in injury to innocent Joplin motorists - folks who just happen
to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this post, our Missouri
personal injury lawyers discuss a few common reckless driving behaviors and recommend
a few safety tips to help protect everyone on the road.
• Excessive speed. Authorities say excessive speed is a factor in nearly a third of all auto
accident deaths each year. Traveling too fast for conditions reduces the
amount of time that a driver has to recognize and react to a roadway emergency.
Speed also has a direct impact on the severity of a crash and resulting
injuries: as the impact speed increases, so does the crash energy that
needs to be managed - and a vehicle can only manage a limited amount of
crash energy before occupant safety is threatened. Be sure to obey the
speed limit and adjust your speed as needed for roadway, traffic and weather
• Fleeing from police. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately
360 people die in high speed police pursuits each year. Innocent bystanders
account for a third of those deaths. If you see a vehicle being pursued,
take immediate steps to get out of that vehicle's path.
• Passing emergency vehicles or school buses when their lights are flashing. When an emergency vehicle is displaying flashing lights or sounding its
siren, Missouri state law requires that you yield the right of way to
that vehicle and pull as far to the right as possible. If the vehicle
is non-moving (for example, during a traffic stop or construction project),
you must "move over" into an adjacent lane when possible. State
law also requires that you stop for school buses when their stop sign
is displayed, and when they stop at railroad crossings.
• Failing to obey traffic signals. It's just common sense: when drivers run stop signs or ignore traffic
lights, the chances of a collision are greatly increased. All drivers
should use extra caution when proceeding through intersections.
• Following too closely ("tailgaiting"). Use the
three-second rule to ensure you have allowed enough distance between your vehicle and the
one traveling in front of you. Tailgaiting is an extremely common cause
of rear-end collisions, which commonly result in serious neck, shoulder
and back injuries.