Why Timid, Overly Cautious Drivers Are Dangerous and Put Others at Risk

woman looking scared behind the wheelEvery driver has a legal duty to exercise an appropriate amount of caution on the road. However, some drivers take things too far. The irony is that being too cautious puts you at higher risk of a crash, much like reckless or impaired driving.

In this blog, Sigman Janssen explains what it means to be an overly cautious driver and how it increases the risk of an accident. We also discuss why some drivers are more nervous or timid behind the wheel, and how other drivers can protect themselves.

If you were injured by an overly timid or cautious driver in Appleton or another one of the Fox Cities, we may be able to help you pursue compensation for your damages. Our Appleton car accident lawyers have secured millions for crash victims.

Free legal consultation. Zero upfront costs or fees. Call to learn more: (877) 888-5201.

What Is the Definition of Overly Cautious Driving?

You have probably encountered a few overly cautious drivers over the years. These are not people who are just being careful. They often travel well below the speed limit and are incredibly hesitant to make many types of traffic maneuvers, such as turns.

Overly cautious drivers may avoid making right turns on red lights, even though they are allowed to do so. They may brake unexpectedly or well before they need to. They may also be reluctant to merge into another lane, which can cause traffic to back up.

Timid driving behavior is especially dangerous in certain situations, such as on highways or interstates that have higher speed limits. Other drivers are not expecting people to be traveling so slowly. This makes it more difficult for trailing drivers to switch lanes.

Roundabouts can be particularly overwhelming for timid drivers. They may be unsure of where they are going. They may even stop inside a roundabout to try to figure it out, an illegal and incredibly dangerous move.

Another common habit of timid drivers is yielding to others when they have the right of way. You may think this is simply a polite gesture, but it can be confusing. Obeying right-of-way laws is a better strategy, as these laws were designed to protect everyone and lower the risk of a collision.

What Do Many Timid Drivers Have in Common?

Timid drivers often share common traits that cause them to be too careful, including:

  • Limited driving experience – Teenagers who do not have much experience behind the wheel may act with excessive caution. Their lack of experience causes a lack of confidence, so they try to be more careful. They may also be driving their parents’ car and taking extra care to avoid a wreck.
  • Previous negative experiences on the road – Individuals who have been involved in collisions or other traumatic incidents in the past may be especially eager to avoid past mistakes or high-risk situations.
  • Anxiety about traffic conditions or specific driving scenarios – Some people are predisposed to anxiety, especially when they get behind the wheel at night. Taking extreme caution helps them to cope with their fear.
  • Advanced age – Some drivers become more cautious because they have slower reaction times, or they are concerned about their ability to respond quickly to road hazards.

What Conditions May Cause Drivers To Use Excess Caution?

Sometimes drivers are not overly cautious all the time, just when they are presented with certain situations, including:

  • Adverse weather conditions, such as ice or heavy rain
  • Unfamiliarity with the area or road layout
  • Presence of large vehicles or aggressive drivers
  • Recent changes in traffic laws or road configurations

These conditions could trigger drivers, making them slow down or be extra careful because they fear a collision. This could be because they were involved in a crash the last time they encountered bad weather or were in an unfamiliar area.

Liability for an Overly Cautious Driving Collision

In their quest to avoid a collision, overly cautious drivers can cause a collision and may be held liable for damages. For example, they could cause a rear-end crash by unexpectedly slowing down or stopping, such as in a roundabout.

Merging too slowly is incredibly dangerous and it could lead to liability for a crash. While other drivers are expected to adjust to the traffic around them, this might not be possible if someone is driving far below the speed limit.

Sometimes elderly drivers get easily confused about where they are supposed to turn and end up going the wrong way. They may try to correct their mistake, but they continue going too slowly. This can lead to a dangerous collision with oncoming traffic that has the right of way. In this kind of situation, the elderly driver is probably at least partially to blame, if not fully to blame.

If you were injured in a crash caused by an overly timid driver, you may be able to seek compensation from their liability insurance. These are very fact-sensitive situations and potential claims are dependent on a clear and full understanding of all of the facts that caused the collision.

Protecting Yourself From Timid or Overly Cautious Drivers

While it is impossible to control the actions of other drivers, there are measures you can take to mitigate the danger created by overly cautious drivers:

  • Maintain a safe following distance: This gives you plenty of time to slow down, stop or change lanes if the driver in front of you brakes suddenly.
  • Stay alert: Pay attention to the driving patterns of those around you. This way you can better anticipate what they might do. This gives you more time to respond and helps limit surprises.
  • Use defensive driving techniques: Be prepared to adjust your driving in different situations. This does not mean you need to be aggressive. You just need to be aware and be proactive.

Call Sigman Janssen Today To Discuss Legal Options After a Collision

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving an overly cautious driver, Sigman Janssen is here to help you navigate the complexities of a personal injury claim. Our team offers personalized guidance through every step of the legal process, and there are no upfront costs with our services.

Experienced. Local. Lawyers. Contact us for legal assistance: (877) 888-5201.