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Understanding Erratic Driving: Signs, Avoidance, & Safe Responses

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Reckless behavior behind a steering wheel can lead to dangerous physical and legal consequences. While driving, you must remain focused, follow traffic laws, and operate the vehicle safely. Below, the experienced agents from Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of auto, motorcycle, homeowners, and renters insurance San Diego residents rely on for high-quality service, describe some of the actions of an erratic driver, explain what you can do to avoid being one, and provide tips to use if you encounter unpredictable vehicle operators.

Failing to Follow Traffic Laws

You may think you’re driving safely when you’re actually making common mistakes associated with a reckless driver, such as failing to obey traffic lights, signals, and signs. If you continue driving through a red light or purposely fail to pause when approaching a stop sign, you could slide into other cars, putting your life and those of people in other vehicles at risk.

Speeding is another sign of an erratic driver. Unreliable drivers don’t care about weather conditions and continue driving without following speed precautions.

Judgmental Errors

Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or without adequate rest is a judgmental error reckless drivers typically make. Due to the effects of alcohol or the lack of sleep, a driver could make faulty decisions or become agitated, veering out of his or her lane or engaging in erratic behavior like verbal altercations and physical abuse. You should only operate a vehicle when you’re mentally, physically, and emotionally well to prevent judgmental errors.

Ways to Avoid Driving Recklessly

Most erratic driving is due to responding to actions, whether it’s interacting with family and friends before getting behind the wheel, being a recipient of bad news, or operating an automobile while texting or viewing social media. You should refrain from driving a car if these situations occur because they prevent logical thinking and quick decision-making.

Traffic congestion is another reason many drive recklessly. You can avoid this by staying prepared. For example, don’t expect to quickly get on and off a busy highway, especially during rush hour. Instead, give yourself plenty of time to make it to your destination, always use the restroom before getting behind the steering wheel, and bring snacks or beverages to avoid anger stemming from hunger and dehydration.

How to Respond to an Erratic Driver

You may encounter an erratic driver on the road, so it’s best to be prepared. If you can safely access a phone, call the authorities. If other people are in the car with you, have them phone the police. Local police and highway patrol officers in the area can respond and address the driver with authority.

Never pull up to your home or stop at nearby locations where the erratic driver could follow you. Doing so could put you and your passengers in danger, so remain calm and continue driving. Always try to let the person drive by you, and don’t gesture or make eye contact. Instead, focus on the road. Showing signs of frustration or anger could cause the situation to escalate, so you need to move out of the way and allow the erratic driver to pass by.

Driving safely provides a number of benefits, not the least of which is the reduced risk of being in an accident. If you’re involved in an accident, it’s essential to have reliable auto insurance. San Diego drivers know they can trust the team from Altra Insurance Services to be there when they need assistance. For a free quote, give us a call today.

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