Why You Should Be Cautious of Fearful Drivers On the Road
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on April 6, 2023 in Car Accident News. Updated on May 25, 2023
Fearful drivers are often overlooked as a danger to others on the road. This is especially true when compared to aggressive drivers. However, drivers who are afraid of other vehicles or pedestrians may pose a significant risk to others just as much as a driver who weaves through traffic.
Below, we discuss why drivers should be cautious of fearful drivers and what steps they may take to avoid a collision.
If you were injured in a crash caused by a fearful driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. Call our New Jersey auto collision attorneys today to discuss your claim. The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
What Type of Fearful Drivers Are Often Encountered On the Road?
Taking certain precautions is generally a good thing. However, there are times when caution can be taken too far. Some of the most common types of fearful drivers encountered on the road may include the following:
- New drivers – someone who just got his or her license may fear other vehicles on the road due to a lack of experience behind the wheel.
- Elderly drivers – as people get older, they may experience hearing loss or difficulty seeing things, making it more likely to experience anxiety while driving.
- Impaired drivers – an intoxicated individual may fear getting pulled over by police or causing a collision, so he or she may overcompensate for cautiousness.
- Illegal drivers – if a person is driving illegally, such as without a driver’s license, he or she may be fearful of getting pulled over or into an accident.
Some drivers who are not usually fearful behind the wheel may become anxious if they are transporting cargo or have children in the car. Drivers may also be overly cautious to a fault during inclement weather, like heavy rain or snow.
What Actions Make Fearful Drivers So Dangerous?
Drivers are legally required to follow traffic laws, as these laws exist for a reason. For example, speed limits, including minimum and maximum speeds.
A driver who is anxious or nervous behind the wheel may not follow these traffic laws because their fears overtake their actions. This may result in the driver doing one of the following:
- Driving below the speed limit
- Braking for no reason
- Yielding when he or she has the right-of-way
- Stopping in a roundabout
- Failing to switch out of a lane for fear of passing vehicles
- Waiving vehicles through when it is not safe to do so
Fearful Drivers vs Aggressive Drivers: Who is Worse?
It is difficult to determine whether aggressive or fearful drivers are worse. Both types of drivers pose unique threats to other drivers.
The aggressive driver may weave through traffic, speed or cut other vehicles off. Meanwhile, the fearful driver is probably doing everything he or she can to avoid getting hit.
A fearful driver’s actions may also trigger negligent actions from an aggressive driver that could result in a serious collision. Take the following scenario for example:
Driver A is attempting to make a right turn at an uncontrolled intersection where traffic flow is heavy. The driver is anxious about making the turn onto the far-right lane due to the volume of vehicles, so he or she wants to wait until most of the oncoming traffic is clear before turning. Meanwhile, Driver B pulls up behind Driver A’s vehicle. Driver B is in a rush, so he or she honks at Driver A when it appears traffic is clear from his or her point of view. Driver A panics and makes the right turn, not realizing there is an oncoming vehicle in the far-right lane. Driver A and the oncoming vehicle collide.
In this case, the fearful driver’s anxiety, triggered by an aggressive driver, overtook his or her reasoning and an accident occurred.
If an aggressive driver attempts to overtake a fearful driver going below the speed limit on a single-lane highway, he or she may miscalculate timing and cause a head-on collision.
Ultimately, each type of driver should be avoided on the road.
What Steps Should Drivers Take to Avoid Fearful Drivers?
It may be a good idea to give fearful drivers space. It is also important to remember to be patient. You do not want to become an aggressive driver who ends up causing a collision because you were frustrated with a fearful driver.
This means you should pass the fearful driver when it is safe to do so, and in a safe manner. Do not overtake a vehicle without checking the way is clear, or without checking your blind spot.
You should always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and other drivers’ vehicles. This may help you brake in time if someone brakes unexpectedly.
Overall, you should stay alert behind the wheel and avoid any possible distractions, including the following:
- Talking on the phone
- Putting on make-up
What to Do After an Accident Involving a Fearful Driver
If you were involved in an accident with a fearful driver, you should follow the same steps as in any other accident. That means you should call the police to the scene and request medical attention right away. If possible, have an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) evaluate you at the scene to determine whether you should go to the hospital.
Next, and if it is safe to do so, take photos of the scene and talk to potential witnesses to get their contact information. Do not forget to exchange information with the other driver involved in the crash.
Lastly, you should call an attorney who can help you file an insurance claim.
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