Nothing slows one’s roll down like hearing the siren of a police car wailing behind their car.
Aside from trying to remember whether your registration is still in the front dash, this is the moment where you are rapidly scrambling to come up with a defense against a possible traffic violation. While there are a number of situations where the driver is responsible for breaking the traffic laws, the following six driving behaviors are most likely to land even the most conscientious driver with a ticket or a citation.
STOP #1: FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY
Did you know that a driver has less than 2 seconds to perceive a dangerous situation and react to it while driving? The actual reaction plus perception time equals 1.5 seconds within which an alert driver must observe, acknowledge the threat, and act. The driver must either brake or steer the vehicle away from the potential crash point in mere seconds. That is why it is vital that trucks should follow from at least a truck’s length distance behind another large vehicle. Any closer than that, the vehicle will be unable to avoid a crash from occurring.
STOP #2: GOING OVER THE SPEED LIMIT
In addition to breaking following distance laws, another driving behavior that causes commercial motor vehicles to be stopped is their speed. If a commercial motor vehicle is observed to be speeding above the clearly indicated speeding limit, a commercial vehicle officer will have reason to pull the CMV over to check the driver’s license, registration as well as inspect the vehicle. Not all such stops result in a ticket, but speeding can result in a warning. Speeding saves these drivers little time, but faster speeds considerably add to their danger of having a severe and horrific injury or fatality. Speeding is the most common trait of hostile drivers, leading to other dangerous behavior such as following closely, merging through traffic, and not stopping at stop signs and red lights.
STOP #3: ERRATIC DRIVING OR LANE DEVIATIONS
If a driver is observed making odd lane deviations, more than slight slip of the hand on the wheel, then an officer may pull over the vehicle. Some of the concerns regarding a vehicle making erratic lane deviations is to check whether the driver is suffering from an impairment, a bout of fatigue or an illness. Most of the time, officers have noted that the driver was distracted by electronics like the radio or a smartphone.
STOP #4: INATTENTION AT THE WHEEL
Complacency and overconfidence at the wheel is the number one reason why most car accidents occur within 10 miles of people’s homes. Many times commercial motor vehicle drivers are observed speeding up to a traffic stop or lane closure until the very last moment. At that critical juncture, they snap out of inattention and apply crash avoidance techniques often jarring other drivers and pedestrians in the surrounding area. Such drivers are later observed to have been handling large vehicles while being ill or dangerously fatigued. Inattentive driving poses not only a threat to the driver but also to other individuals on the road.
STOP #5: USING HANDHELD PHONE WHILE DRIVING
Despite numerous technological advances to assist in hands-free phone use while driving, many drivers are still found operating a handheld phone. Officers patrolling in unmarked cars or patrol vehicles can often spot a handheld phone with the aid of a mirror. Using handheld phones poses a serious threat to not only the driver but all others on the road due to the driver’s inattention. Even if you’re parked or at a stop light, the brain stays distracted once you begin moving. It is not on the task at hand, driving. This causes “inattention blindness;” where you’re looking at the road but not seeing what’s in front of you. That could mean pedestrians, other cars, traffic lights, etcetera.
STOP #6: IGNORING TRAFFIC SIGNALS OR SIGNS
Breezing by clearly marked traffic signals and signs is a driving behavior that guarantees a traffic stop. Commercial motor vehicle drivers can not overlook signs that spell out weight limitations or bridge height restrictions. In the case of misjudging the bridge’s height, a CMV officer will certainly arrive to inspect the crash site and issue an appropriate citation. CMV drivers must also observe lane restrictions set by the state such as ‘all trucks must use right lane’ or risk getting pulled over.
The real reason for following rules is to prevent accidents while driving. Negligence at the wheel is the main cause for more than 100 fatal car crashes every single day across America. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death in the workplace. So the next time you set out to grab a gallon of milk, remember to mind the six risky driving behaviors like the smart driver you are!