You probably know what reckless driving is. You have seen examples of it on the road. You know, the other drivers you want to yell at as they zoom past you.
You might even engage in some reckless driving yourself from time to time. If so, that’s a habit you need to break. It is dangerous and can even be deadly. You don’t want to harm yourself, a passenger, or another driver or pedestrian.
Let’s go over five specific choices or behaviors that can lead directly to dangerous driving so you’ll know to avoid them from now on.
1. Alcohol Consumption
There’s little doubt that when you took driving classes, particularly if you took a driver’s ed course that a school offered, that the instructors talked about alcohol dangers. You know you’re not supposed to get behind the wheel if you’re over the legal limit or even if you suspect that you are.
The NHTSA says that drunk driving kills 30 US citizens every day. On top of that, it causes society about $44 billion every year. That’s an enormous amount of money.
The real problem is that some people think they’ve been driving long enough and they have the skill set so that even if they’ve consumed more than the legal limit, the law does not apply to them. They may not realize that with the alcohol in their system, they are more likely to drive faster than usual or to attempt unsafe turns or other traffic maneuvers that they would not execute if they were sober.
It’s pretty simple: to avoid reckless driving, avoid alcohol. Even if you have only had a single beer, it’s best to let someone else drive or take public transportation home.
2. Drug Use
You might drive recklessly if you have consumed other drugs as well. You might smoke marijuana if you’re in a legal weed state, or maybe you’ve ingested some opioids. You may have a prescription for them, but even if you can use them legally, you’re impaired once you take them and you should never drive.
Some people drive slower when they ingest substances, while others drive faster. Any of that falls under reckless driving behavior, so if you know that you have to drive somewhere soon, you need to abstain. Leave the driving chores up to someone else.
3. Anger Issues
You also might drive recklessly because something is happening in your life that makes you angry. Maybe you and your significant other had a fight, or perhaps you got into it with your boss or a coworker.
The best drivers are those who don’t let their emotions dictate how they drive. They will be just the same behind the wheel even when their blood is boiling versus when they are calm and tranquil.
If you know that you let your emotions impact your driving, then take some time to cool off before you ever get in the car and start the ignition. Walk around the block a couple of times, or take a few long, deep, cleansing breaths in and out. Make sure you’re in the right mindset before you attempt to drive.
4. Loud Music Playing
There is nothing wrong with enjoying some music as you drive, but maybe you’re the sort of person who likes some high-spirited albums that get you in a reckless mood. Just like anger issues, you need to be the same sort of driver regardless of what’s on the radio.
Just because your favorite Metallica song came on, that’s no reason to start driving thirty miles over the speed limit. You can enjoy your music without driving recklessly. If you can’t, then you need to change the station or turn it off entirely, for your sake and that of the other drivers around you.
5. Showing Off
You might also see a driver sometimes who wants to show off for the other people in the car. This often happens with young drivers more than experienced ones.
You just got your license, and you wish to show your friends or your crush that you can get the vehicle up to the speedometer’s top speed. Maybe if it’s nighttime or you’re on a backcountry road, the temptation to do this is powerful.
You need to resist that urge, though. You never know if a police officer is hiding behind the next bend to bust you for your reckless behavior.