It is said that to err is human but if that error was a failure to exercise reasonable care while driving, then it is an act of negligence. Reasonable care is what a reasonably prudent person would do in the same circumstances. Driving kills thousands of U.S. citizens every year. A reasonably prudent person would exercise the greatest care when engaged in such a dangerous activity. This person would dedicate 100 percent of his focus to driving safely and observe all traffic laws.
Negligence can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Actions that divert the driver’s focus from the road are acts of negligence. These include, eating and drinking, operating devices such as a cell phone or radio, grooming, reading, texting, looking at scenery or rubbernecking traffic accidents.
Driving a car when you are not in an alert state of mind is another form of negligence. Drowsiness, inebriation, extreme fatigue, medications, daydreaming or intense mental focus on something other than driving means you are not alert to the task at hand which is safely driving your car. Podcasts and audio books also divert the mind away from driving.
Actions that interfere with your ability to see and hear are considered negligent. This is why you should wear glasses if vision requirements for operating your vehicle specify their use. It is also why headphones should not be used because they prevent you from hearing car horns or police and emergency vehicle sirens.
Another action that a reasonably prudent person would not do is allow an unfit person to drive his car. This could be someone with a revoked license because of reckless driving or children who are too young to drive. You could be held responsible for any accidents caused by an unfit person because allowing them to use your car is considered an act of negligence.
An additional type of negligence is improper maintenance that diminishes the functionality of your car. Bald or under inflated tires, worn brakes, burned out headlights or brake lights, as well as a non functional horn or windshield wipers can all result in an accident. Operating your car under these conditions subjects yourself and others on the road to risk of physical harm.
These examples should give you a good idea of what is meant by negligence. When determining fault in an accident, investigators will look for evidence of negligence. Hopefully the negligent person will not be you.