What are the differences between dangerous, careless and inconsiderate driving?

You may have heard the term dangerous driving but do you know the differences between dangerous, careless and inconsiderate driving?

10 February 2020

Dangerous Driving

Your driving is considered dangerous if it falls FAR below what could be expected of a careful and competent driver. Dangerous driving is the most serious non-fatal road traffic offence a motorist can commit.

For example your driving would be considered dangerous if:

  • You were racing on the road
  • You were driving aggressively so that it may amount to road rage
  • You were driving at an extremely excessive speed
  • You were being avoidably and dangerously distracted by any of your passengers
  • You were driving whilst impaired (e.g. having your arm or leg in plaster, or with impaired eyesight)
  • Your vehicle is significantly defective

If you are charged with dangerous driving, a Magistrates’ Court can give you up to 6 months in prison, a £5,000 fine and disqualification from driving. If you’re tried at a Crown Court then you could face a maximum two years in prison, an unlimited fine, mandatory disqualification and an extended driving test to get your licence back.

Inconsiderate Driving

You driving would be classed as inconsiderate if you did things that could be deemed rude or obnoxious.

For example:

  • Failing to dip your headlights for oncoming traffic
  • Following someone and flashing your lights to make them pull into another lane to let you pass
  • Staying in the outside or middle lane on the motorway
  • Driving through puddles to splash pedestrians
  • Driving in a bus lane or cycle lane to avoid queuing
  • Driving unnecessarily slowly or braking for no reason

If you are charged with inconsiderate driving then you could face an on the spot fine, points on your licence, or, if the offence is more serious, you could go to court.

Careless Driving

Careless driving, or driving without due care and attention, is when the standard of driving falls below that of a competent and reasonable driver.

This could include:

  • Undertaking another driver
  • Tailgating
  • Emerging from a side road into the path of another driver
  • Not giving way at a roundabout
  • Scraping another car in a car park
  • Being distracted by sat nav or map whilst driving
  • A minor rear-end shunt at low speed causing little if any damage

Penalties for careless driving can be anything from three points on your licence to a disqualification, depending on the severity.

If you have been accused of dangerous, inconsiderate or careless driving then it’s crucial you get legal advice from a specialist driving offence lawyer who is experienced in examining and challenging the evidence.

Slater and Gordon have an expert team of driving offence lawyers who have a 93 per cent positive result rate defending traffic offences.

Call us anytime 24/7 on freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online and we will call you.

All information was correct at the time of publication.

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