While it’s likely that most of us have left for work a few minutes late, or underestimated the time it takes to get somewhere, most drivers accept their error and drive safely to their destination.
Unfortunately, however, some drivers act on their inability to wait and exercise self-restraint on the roadway when they are in a hurry. Impatient drivers put everyone on the road at risk of an accident and serious injuries.
For car accident victims in Las Vegas who suffered injuries as a result of an impatient driver, the other driver’s lack of patience may lead to the need for expensive life-long medical care. Thus, the risk of harm to others is a reminder for all drivers to exercise patience, care, and caution while on the road.
What is Impatient Driving?
When someone on the road drives in a way that is unsafe because they are in a hurry or don’t want to wait for others who may have the right-of-way to complete their maneuver, they are driving impatiently.
All drivers on the road have a duty to others to drive safely. When drivers make unsafe moves while driving because they want to arrive more quickly to their destination, their impatient driving may constitute negligence if someone gets hurt. Impatient driving can include a range of different behaviors that put others at risk of harm.
How common is impatient driving?
Impatient driving is a common occurrence on roads throughout the country. According to one study, 33 percent of drivers said they become impatient while waiting at stoplights and parking spaces. The same study also reported that during a Washington D.C. enforcement program where police issued citations for aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating or passing on the right, the most common reason given for the act was that the driver was late.
According to a report by AAA, drivers reported engaging in impatient driving behaviors such as speeding, running a red light, and aggressively switching lanes at a concerning rate.
Why are drivers impatient?
Drivers can lack patience while on Las Vegas roadways for many reasons, including:
- Late to school or work
- Aggravated by stop-and-go traffic or lane closures
- Frustrated with other drivers, often due to driving too slow
- Inability to see a driver is stopped due to an obstruction in the road, such as a pedestrian or road debris
- Thinking they can save time
- Miscalculating the time it takes to get to a specific destination
- Feeling safe enough to adjust risk-taking behavior
- External pressure to arrive at a destination quickly
- A feeling of being in control
- Responding to another impatient driver
While there are a variety of reasons a driver may be impatient, all drivers must share the road. To do this without causing harm to others, all drivers must work together to follow traffic laws, adhere to right-of-way rules for the situation, and exercise patience.
What Types of Driving Behaviors are Considered Impatient Driving?
The behavior most people think of when it comes to impatient driving is speeding. While it’s true that speeding is probably the most common action for drivers lacking patience, it’s only one of several different ways someone can drive impatiently.
For example, another behavior common among impatient drivers is swerving into another lane without checking that it’s safe to do so to get around another driver or someone parking their vehicle.
Additionally, impatient drivers are also known to weave between lanes through traffic with little regard to the position or speed of the other drivers in the lanes they are entering.
One behavior that many drivers don’t consider especially dangerous or think of as impatient driving is speeding up to get through a yellow light, and not having to wait for another light cycle.
Other behaviors that may be considered impatient driving include:
- Not stopping at stop signs or red lights
- Failure to yield to oncoming traffic
- Not following road signs and signals
- Not stopping for a school bus with flashing red lights and stop signs
- Timing a traffic light
Common places where you may encounter impatient drivers
Impatient drivers can be anywhere on the road. In fact, you likely saw someone driving impatiently on your commute this morning or during your most recent journey to your neighborhood grocery or hardware store. However, you may encounter impatient drivers more frequently in certain places, at certain times or in certain situations on the roadway.
One of the most common places you may see impatient drivers is also one where the results can be the most devastating in the event of an accident. School zones are a place where drivers often exhibit a lack of patience.
Whether it’s because they are late to drop their children off, or they are frustrated with lower speed requirements or crosswalks, school zones can be dangerous because of impatient driving and the presence of children who may not be fully aware of their surroundings.
Traffic jams can also be another place where driving impatiently happens frequently. For some drivers who may be late or who are just frustrated with having to drive slower or stop altogether to accommodate an accident or other cause of traffic, the answer may be unsafe maneuvers to speed up the journey.
Lastly, stop signs, red lights, and four-way stops are other places where drivers may drive dangerously due to a lack of patience.
The Overlap between Impatient Driving and Reckless Driving
Impatience is one of the leading causes of reckless driving behaviors. When drivers lack patience and make the decision to act on it, they put everyone in danger. When it comes to reckless driving, it’s considered driving with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other drivers. Many of the same behaviors seen in impatient drivers are also considered reckless driving.
When impatient drivers make the conscious decision to continue with dangerous behavior such as speeding, tailgating, or not stopping at a stop sign, regardless of the consequences of that action, they are driving recklessly.
Most drivers know that it’s dangerous to drive impatiently and understand that these impatient driving behaviors could cause someone to get hurt. With these considerations in mind, a driver who acts on their inability to exercise patience is also considered to be driving recklessly.
How Can I Stop Driving Impatiently?
While most of us know that it’s important to have patience while driving, sometimes drivers with even the best intentions for driving safely can experience circumstances that lead us to drive impatiently.
The best way to ensure you do not become an impatient driver is always to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Plan your route ahead of time and check Google or Apple Maps and traffic reports to determine the appropriate time to leave for your destination if you want to arrive on time.
Additionally, you can avoid impatiently driving by reminding yourself that certain conditions and situations on the road are out of your control and may lead to you arriving at your destination later than planned. For example, the actions of others, like response time when a light turns green, are not something within your control. Additionally, if an accident ahead causes stop-and-go or deadlocked traffic, all you can do is wait it out or adjust your route.
Always focus on what is actually in your control and try to relax when driving to decrease the risk of inadvertently driving impatiently.
Is Impatient Driving Illegal?
While most states don’t have specific laws prohibiting impatient driving, they likely have laws prohibiting particular behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, or running red lights.
For example, for drivers in Las Vegas, NRS Chapter 484B outlines Nevada’s rules of the road, including sections regarding tailgating, speeding, yielding the right-of-way, and failing to obey traffic signals.
Impatient drivers may face traffic infractions or even criminal charges related to their driving.
Liability for Impatient Drivers Who Cause an Accident
All states have civil laws outlining the specific negligence rules for liability after car accidents. For drivers in Las Vegas, NRS 41.130 says any person who causes injuries to another person is liable for damages.
Drivers must drive safely and with caution in a way that does not put others on the road at risk for unnecessary harm or injuries. When drivers breach their duty to drive safely because they are impatient, they may be liable for any injuries or other damage that results from the impatient driving.
If an accident caused by another person driving impatiently hurt you, you might recover financial compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help you build and file a claim for compensation from the driver responsible for your injuries.
Can I Sue an Impatient Driver if I Get Hurt in an Accident?
You may be able to sue for compensation if you get hurt because of an impatient driver. Depending on the state laws where the accident took place, you may be able to sue the other driver for your losses due to the accident. In Las Vegas, state laws allow you to sue an impatient driver when you are hurt.
Can a Lawyer Help Me if an Impatient Driver Hurt Me?
If you decide to pursue a claim for compensation for your injuries after an accident with an impatient driver, a lawyer may help you by:
- Explaining all potential legal options available based on the specific facts of your case
- Contacting and corresponding with the other driver’s insurance company
- Gathering evidence, such as work time logs, cell phone records, or even social media posts to prove the other party was driving because they were late
- Contacting potential eyewitnesses to gather statements that can be used to prove impatient driving behavior leading up to the crash
- Negotiating with the insurance company if they offer you an inadequate settlement or try to limit liability
- Working with specialists or accident reconstructionists to determine the cause of the accident and identify the events leading up to the accident
- Using the facts of your case, your specific injuries, and your long-term prognosis for recovery to determine an appropriate case value
- Taking the case to trial in the event a settlement can’t be reached or is inadequate
Your accident lawyer will work with you at every stage of your claim to help you build a strong case for recovery and prove the other driver’s negligent behavior caused your injuries.