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The Timid Clearwater Driver

The dangers of distracted driving are proven in the numbers of accidents resulting from situations and actions that sidetrack the mind for an extended period of time. While these culprits are exceedingly dangerous, some motorists take their habits to the opposite extreme of the attention spectrum. These individuals are either too courteous or overcautious in their driving experience whereby their fearfulness creates hazardous scenarios. These drivers typically:

  • Drive well-below the posted speed limit (especially in inclement weather).
  • Wait for a green light at right-turn-on-red intersections.
  • Let others go first at a four-way stop, even when they arrive first.
  • Stop to let cars merge into traffic.
  • Stop to let pedestrians cross when there is no market crosswalk.
  • Yield or give an “all clear” wave to drivers, allowing the driver to turn in front of them and assuming others will follow suit.
  • Stopping at a round-about rather than merging into traffic.
  • Unexpectedly slowing down on the highway to change lanes to exit.

Kindness Leads to Frustration

While all kind gestures, the listed scenarios are not necessarily in everyone’s best interests and can be equally as dangerous as driver distractions or being overly aggressive. Erroneous courtesy will often cause a driver to be held accountable in an auto accident. Here are two lawsuits, summarized from the Legal Examiner, that highlight the serious consequences of engaging in a common practice among well-intentioned and courteous drivers.

  • A Portland, Oregon bicyclist, who was seriously injured in a November 2014 auto accident, filed a lawsuit against the pick-up driver who hit her and another driver she claims waved the truck driver to turn in front of his vehicle. According to the claim, a well-intentioned driver waved the pick-up truck driver through an intersection in advance of the appropriate right-first sequence. The trunk driver stuck the cyclist who was riding in the bike lane. The lawsuit states the crash fractured the woman’s pelvis, shoulder, ribs, sacrum and tailbone. She went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. The lawsuit seeks $650,000 in damages, including lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. The well-intended driver is being held accountable for failing to provide a proper lookout and waving to the truck driver to make the turn when he knew or should have known that the turn could not be made safely at that time.
  • In January 2006, a driver in a Subaru pulled into the middle lane of a busy street and was waiting to make a left turn when there was a break in traffic. A driver in one of the two oncoming lanes came to a halt, then waved the Subaru through. As the Subaru driver turned left, a car in the second oncoming lane slammed into it. A 20-year-old passenger in the Subaru was seriously injured, she still suffers painful headaches and has memory loss worse than a patient in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. After a two-week trail, the jury found the Subaru driver 55 percent responsible, the driver who hit the Subaru 10 percent responsible, and the driver who waved him on at 35 percent responsible. While some jurors wanted to place more blame on the driver who stopped to wave the Subaru through, others were surprised that the “well-intended” driver was also held accountable.

Overly courteous drivers are infrequently, if ever, in control of surrounding traffic. The best advice for everyone is to be more mindful of their surroundings and to drive defensively. Don’t yield at the wrong place, wave others on, or slow down when traffic is flowing [1].

Of course, most of these situations stem from slow drivers who disrupt the flow of traffic. Unfortunately, these drivers who interrupt the course of traffic often cause frustration in the speed-limit drivers behind them, triggering them to feel compelled to pass. Many (around 60%) do so out of anger and impatience—although not a sound judgement—frequently resulting in collisions. Many researchers consider overcautious and slow drivers such a problem that they advocate strict enforcement of minimum speed limits through the use of road cameras or posted speeds. Liability for most traffic accidents is based on the law of negligence, which is the failure to exercise reasonable care for the safety of others to avoid causing foreseeable injury. While slow drivers may play a substantial role in causing many car accidents, it’s often the other driver who will legally by at-fault [2]. This comparative negligence can be stressful and confusing in the time after an auto accident.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Individuals who are injured in car accidents that occur in and around Clearwater, Florida are often entitled to significant financial compensation for their injuries and other losses. The lawyers of the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have been helping people who have been injured in preventable accidents since 2009 and are dedicated to recovering the maximum amount of compensation for each client we represent. In addition, we ensure that everyone who has been hurt by the negligence of others has access to quality legal representation by taking each personal injury we accept on a contingent fee basis. This means that our clients do not pay us any legal fees unless we successfully recover on their behalf. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, please call our office today at (727) 451-6900.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900



[1] http://farmingtonhills.legalexaminer.com/automobile-accidents/courteous-to-a-fault/
[2] https://www.allstate.com/blog/dangers-of-driving-slowly/