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How to Spot a Negligent Driver

Negligent drivers are around every corner in San Jose, California. In a single year, the City of San Jose reported 5,093 deaths and injuries from traffic collisions. Hundreds of these cases involved drunk, speeding, and negligent drivers. You’ve probably encountered bad drivers on most of your drives and commutes – whether you knew it or not. Learning how to spot a negligent driver can help you avoid an accident and even save a life. Our San Jose car accident attorneys recommend using these signs to spot negligent driving and stay safe on San Jose’s roads and highways.

Drifting Between Lanes

One of the most common mistakes distracted, negligent, and drunk drivers make is the inability to stay in their own lanes. Drifting in and out of a marked lane is a telltale sign that the driver isn’t watching the road. Drivers talking with passengers, using cell phones, eating, drinking, looking at maps, or driving drunk are most likely to drift between lanes without noticing. This can cause collisions, side-swipe accidents, and single-vehicle crashes if the driver loses control of the vehicle.

Jerking the Wheel/Overcorrecting

Overcorrecting goes along with drifting in and out of lanes. Once a negligent driver notices that he or she isn’t in the lane, the driver might panic and overcorrect the car, jerking the wheel and creating a dangerous situation. Overcorrecting can lead to loss of control of the vehicle, collisions with other cars, and overturn accidents. Watch for drivers who can’t stay in their lanes and who correct their vehicles suddenly or severely.

Cellphone Use Behind the Wheel

Texting and talking on a handheld cellphone is illegal in California. Unfortunately, thousands of drivers ignore these laws every day. Using a handheld device in any capacity (and using a hands-free device if under the age of 18) while driving is an act of negligence in California, unless the communication is for an emergency. Stay away from drivers you see using handheld cellphones while driving. Cellphones are one of the deadliest forms of driver distraction.


Negligent drivers are often prone to breaking speed limits in San Jose. Speeding is a common problem in the area, accounting for 1,318 fatal and injury collisions in the city in 2015. Keep your distance from speeding drivers, carefully switching lanes to avoid them whenever possible. Don’t block a speeding driver or brake-check him/her, as this could lead to aggressive driving and road rage incidents. Avoid the negligent, speeding driver whenever you can.

Breaking Roadway Rules

Failing to obey traffic signals and other road rules is another mark of a negligent or reckless driver. Ignoring the right-of-way, rolling through stop signs, not using turn signals, cutting other drivers off, and running red lights are all signs of a bad and potentially dangerous driver. Pay attention at all intersections and watch for oncoming vehicles, even if you have the right-of-way.

Overcrowded Car

If the vehicle next to you is has a lot of passengers, it’s safe to bet the people will distract the driver to the point of negligence. Too many passengers in one vehicle can greatly increase the risk of driver distraction. Multiple people may be talking, moving, asking questions, etc. while the person is trying to focus on the road. Move at least one lane away from passenger-crowded vehicles to be safe.

Vehicle Damage

In many situations, a driver at fault for a collision won’t have enough insurance to cover damage to his/her own vehicle. Someone who wasn’t at fault for the crash, on the other hand, will receive damage recovery through the responsible party’s insurance company. Unless the at-fault driver pays to repair auto damage out-of-pocket, he or she will likely leave the vehicle damaged. If you see a car with visible property damage, therefore, it is safe to assume that he or she was at fault for the collision. Avoiding damaged vehicles is a good habit to keep other drivers safe.

If you or a loved one was involved in a car collision due to another’s negligent actions, you may be eligible for compensation. To learn more about your unique situation or to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced San Jose car accident lawyers, contact us today.