Careless and dangerous driving
Careless driving falls below the minimum standard expected of a careful driver and includes driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. Dangerous driving includes behaviour that could potentially endanger yourself or other drivers. If you drive in a careless or dangerous way you risk prosecution.
Careless and dangerous driving – the law
It is illegal to drive or ride a vehicle dangerously on the road or without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for other road users.
You could be breaking the law if, while driving or riding, you are guilty of any of the following behaviours:
- failing to look properly
- sudden braking
- overtaking on the inside
- turning into the path of another driver
- having your attention diverted by a distraction inside the car, for example, using a mobile phone
- having your attention diverted by a distraction outside the car, for example, 'rubber necking'
- racing, going too fast, or driving aggressively
- ignoring traffic lights, road signs or warnings from passengers
- overtaking dangerously
- driving under the influence of drink or drugs, including prescription drugs
- driving while unfit including: having an injury, being unable to see clearly, not taking required prescribed drugs or being fatigued
- driving whilst knowing the vehicle has a dangerous fault or an unsafe load
- driving whilst distracted by, for example, reading a map, using a hand-held phone, lighting a cigarette
Read the Highway Code for more information.
In Northern Ireland, if you’re caught driving or riding without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for other road users you could get an automatic fixed penalty notice – three penalty points and a fine of £100. Serious careless driving offences will continue to go to court.
If your case goes to court and you are convicted of careless or dangerous driving you will risk:
|Types of penalties||Careless driving||Dangerous driving|
|Fine||Up to £5,000||Unlimited|
|Penalty points||Between three and nine||Between three and 11|