Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving – What Is The Difference?

Welcome to our guide exploring careless driving vs dangerous driving and the injuries that you could sustain in a car accident caused by them. When on the road, we expect other drivers to act in a way that ensures our health and safety.

Careless driving vs dangerous driving guide

Careless driving vs dangerous driving guide

However, this doesn’t always happen, and sometimes a driver will act in a way that puts others on the road in danger. The accidents that result from this negligent driving can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. 

Dangerous And Careless Driving

If you’ve suffered physical or psychiatric injuries caused by a dangerous or careless driver, this guide could help you. In addition to this, we’ll explore the compensation you could be awarded in terms of general and special damages.

We understand the process of making a personal injury claim for a road traffic accident can be daunting. For this reason, we’ve aimed to provide information on the different stages of building a strong case throughout our guide.

Furthermore, we’ll explore the options of accessing legal representation that may be available to you. For instance, we’ll examine how a No Win No Fee solicitor could help you avoid the upfront costs usually associated with legal representation. 

Get In Touch With Our Team

Even after reading the information provided in our guide, we expect that you may have questions regarding personal injury compensation. Alternatively, you may wish you get the process of claiming started today. If so, you can get in touch with a member of our team on the following:

  • Phone number 020 3870 4868
  • By filling out the call-back request form, an advisor can ring you at your chosen time
  • Get instant help and advice from an advisor by chatting on live chat

Alternatively, continue reading for further details on the causes of road traffic accidents.

Services And Information

  1. Everything You Need To Know About Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving
  2. What Are Careless Driving And Dangerous Driving?
  3. Careless Driving
  4. Dangerous Driving
  5. Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving – How Do They Differ?
  6. Careless And Dangerous Driving Accident Compensation Calculator
  7. Road Traffic Accident Statistics
  8. Dangerous Driving Causing Serious Injury
  9. Dangerous Driving Causing Death
  10. What Are The Penalties For Dangerous Or Careless Driving?
  11. Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving – How Long Do You Have To Claim?
  12. I Was Harmed Due To Another Person’s Careless Or Dangerous Driving, What Should I Do?
  13. Claim For Injuries Caused By Dangerous Or Careless Driving On A No Win No Fee Basis
  14. Useful Pages
  15. FAQs About Careless And Dangerous Driving

Everything You Need To Know About Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving

Careless and dangerous driving are both examples of negligent driving, but there are differences between the two. For example, they will attract different penalties. They are both instances of a driver failing to follow the guidelines set out in the Highway Code

By failing to meet the expected standard of driving, careless and dangerous driving can result in various consequences. These outcomes can affect both the driver and other road users. For instance:

  • A driver is following another car from behind closely. When the car in front stops, the car behind isn’t able to brake in time and collides with the back of their vehicle. As a result, the other driver suffers a severe head injury.
  • A motorcyclist riding under the influence of drugs and driving over the speed limit crashes into a cyclist. This causes damage to the cyclist’s spinal cord. 
  • A lorry driver’s vehicle is not road worthy. This results in them crashing into a car from the side, causing the passenger in the car to suffer fatal injuries.
  • A driver is eating at the wheel. Because they are distracted, they veer into a cycle lane and collide with a cyclist in a cycle accident, resulting in them being knocked from their bike. As a result, they suffer a broken ankle.

If you’ve been injured in an accident that happened in a way we haven’t listed above, don’t worry; these are just a few examples of negligent driving, and we haven’t covered all accident circumstances.

For more information on whether the circumstances of your accident could entitle you to claim, why not speak to a member of our team today?

What Are Careless Driving And Dangerous Driving?

Drivers are expected to drive in a way that prevents themselves and other road users from suffering harm. Failing to do so could result in accidents that cause fatal or serious injuries, such as:

  • Severe head injuries, e.g. brain damage 
  • Spinal cord damage leading to paralysis 
  • Compound or open fractures causing long term issues 

Each road user has a duty of care to act in a way that prevents others on the road from being harmed. 

Some examples of the duty of care different categories of road users have to one another as found in the Highway Code include:

  • Pedestrians should ensure they cross the road at designated pedestrian crossings to avoid a pedestrian accident.
  • Cyclists should ensure they wear high visibility clothing and signal when they change directions 
  • Anyone operating a motorcycle should not carry more than one pillion passenger
  • Drivers should not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Some kinds of road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, are classified as vulnerable road users compared to drivers. This means that they are at more risk of injury in an accident than those who have the protection of a vehicle. Drivers should be aware of this increased vulnerability and act accordingly.  

If you’d like to know more about careless driving vs dangerous driving, why not speak to a member of our team today? One of our advisors will be happy to offer you free legal advice.

Careless Driving

Careless driving is outlined in section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 as driving in a way that falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver. This might include the following:

  • Following too closely to another vehicle
  • Driving through a red light 
  • Driving unnecessarily slow or braking when it’s not needed
  • Misusing lanes, for example, by overtaking on the left instead of on the right when on a two-way road 

Essentially, careless driving on the road means that someone is operating a vehicle without due care and attention. Doing so could result in an accident in which another road user is seriously injured or, in some cases, killed. 

Dangerous Driving

According to section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, dangerous driving is driving that falls far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver. This can include things like:

  • Speeding
  • Driving aggressively
  • Overtaking dangerously, for example, by not checking mirrors 
  • Ignoring hazards on the road, e.g. road signs, pedestrians, vulnerable road users
  • Not paying attention to the road, e.g. reading and using your phone 
  • Driving a vehicle you know is dangerous 

In order to be classed as dangerous driving, it should be obvious to a competent road user that the standard of driving is dangerous.

Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving – How Do They Differ?

Careless driving and dangerous driving both involve road conduct that falls below what is expected of a competent driver. The thing that distinguishes them is how far below the expected standard their driving falls. Careless driving may be driving that falls just below the expected standard, whereas dangerous driving falls far below it.

When determining whether a driver has been dangerous or careless in their road use, the individual circumstances of the case will be considered. For instance, the weather conditions, amount of traffic on the road and visibility will all be taken into account when determining if a driver acted dangerously.

Dangerous driving does not just cover your conduct on the road. You can also be found guilty of dangerous driving if your vehicle has a known defect that could make it dangerous to drive.

Careless And Dangerous Driving Accident Compensation Calculator

For personal injury claims, your compensation may be made up of general and special damages. Special damages cover you for financial losses such as loss of earnings, cost of care, medical or travel expenses. It’s important to note that not every case will include special damages. 

General damages are the other head of claim that could make up your compensation settlement. These compensate you for the impact your injury has had on your quality of life. When calculating how much your injuries are worth, a few factors will be considered, such as:

  • The severity of your injury
  • How long it will take you to recover
  • The long term impact your injury has caused

Medical evidence will be used to examine these factors, such as doctors or hospital records. These can confirm any treatment and diagnosis you were given. 

Additionally, an independent medical assessment will usually be arranged as part of your claim. The independent expert who assesses you will produce a report highlighting the extent of your injuries and any ongoing conditions. It will also serve to prove your accident and injury and that your injuries were caused by the accident you were involved in. 

Furthermore, a document called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can help legal professionals value claims alongside medical evidence. We have created an injury table below using figures from the JCG to illustrate example compensation figures. 

Injury typeFurther commentsCompensation Award
QuadriplegiaMultiple factors will be considered when deciding the award for this injury such as life expectancy, level of pain, affect on communication and senses.£304,630 to £379,100
Very severe brain damageThis will include cases where the person needs full time care and their quality of life will be severely affected.£264,650 to £379,100
ChestA traumatic chest injury that causes permanent damage and reduces the person's life expectancy.£61,710 to £94,470
Severe neck injury(ii) Injuries such as cervical spine damage £61,710 to £122,860
Severe back injury(ii) Injuries such as damage to the nerve root£69,600 to £82,980
Leg amputation (i) Where both legs have been lost above the knee, or one high above the knee and the other below the knee. £225,960 to £264,650
Severe leg injuries (i) Injuries of this nature won't require amputation, but are so severe that the award brackets may be similar. £90,320 to £127,530
Ankle injury Severe injuries that require extensive treatment where the injured person is in plaster or where pins and plates have been inserted. £29,380 to £46,980
Amputation of one foot Injuries of this nature are valued in a similar way to below-knee amputations, as the ankle joint is lost. £78,800 to £102,890
Jaw fracture These kinds of fractures will be very serious and followed by a prolonged treatment period. £28,610 to £42,730

As each claim is unique, you should only use these figures as a guide. The actual compensation settlement you receive will differ. 

Do I need any other evidence to support my claim?

If you’re claiming back any financial losses as part of the special damages head of your claim, you will need to provide evidence of these. For instance, if you’re financial losses include loss of earnings, you could provide payslips to show how much you’ve lost. 

In order to show that someone else’s negligence caused the accident in which you were injured, it may help to build up evidence. This could include things like:

  • Dashcam footage 
  • Traffic camera footage
  • Witness details (however, if there was no witness to the accident, this doesn’t disqualify you from claiming)
  • Police reports which could show whether someone was under the influence of drugs or drink while driving

It’s important that you get as much evidence as you can to support your claim. If you’re having any trouble with this, you can call our team on the number at the top of the page for help and free legal advice on careless driving vs dangerous driving.

Road Traffic Accident Statistics

According to Brake, in the UK, there are more than 200 people who die in a drink-drive related crash every year. The effects of drink driving can be catastrophic; for instance, if you have 50-80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, you’re six times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

Drink driving is an offence. As you can see by the graph below, it can cause serious injuries and deaths to those involved. You could also receive an unlimited fine, a driving ban of at least 1 year and/or imprisonment, 

The graph below looks at the estimated number of reported drink-drive accidents and casualties from 2019. The figures are provided by the Department of Transport.

careless driving vs dangerous driving

Dangerous Driving Causing Serious Injury

If someone’s dangerous driving causes serious injury to you, you may have grounds to make a claim. 

A serious injury is an injury that causes severe harm. This could include: 

  • Severe head injuries
  • Open or compound fractures requiring surgery 
  • Organ damage 
  • Spinal cord injuries 

Dangerous Driving Causing Death

As well as serious injury, dangerous driving could also cause fatal accidents. For example, someone may suffer a fatal chest injury or brain damage as the result of another person’s dangerous driving.  

There are various ways dangerous driving could cause fatal accidents. For example, a driver who is intoxicated behind the wheel could lose control of their vehicle and cause the death of another driver or a vulnerable road user. 

If a family member or loved one has been killed by someone driving dangerously, you could make a claim on their behalf. For further details on this, you can speak to our team, and they can help you understand your rights and the process of claiming.

What Are The Penalties For Dangerous Or Careless Driving?

There are various penalties in place for dangerous driving. However, the nature of the penalty depends on the offence committed.

For instance, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) details some of the penalties for driving offences. 

They include:

  • Between one to fourteen years in prison, and/or an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving for a minimum of two years for causing death when driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Section 3A Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988)
  • Between one to fourteen years in prison and disqualification from driving for a minimum of two years for causing death by dangerous driving (Section 1 RTA 1988)
  • Up to 5 years in prison and disqualification from driving for a minimum of one year for causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving (Section 20 Road Safety Act 2006)

Some driving offences might result in you getting points on your license. If you build up 12 or more points within 3 years, then you could risk losing your license. If you’re a new driver, you could be disqualified if you build up 6 or more points within the first 2 years of driving. 

Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving – How Long Do You Have To Claim?

In most personal injury claims, you’ll be given three years from the date of the accident to put forward your claim. However, there are some exceptions that apply.

For example, anyone under the age of 18 will have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to submit their claim. As an alternative, someone with the child’s best interests in mind can apply to act as a litigation friend and claim on their behalf. This could be a parent, family friend or even a solicitor. 

This is similar for anyone lacking the mental capacity to claim themselves. In circumstances where the person recovers their mental capacity, the three years will start from the date they recover. However, if they never regain their mental capacity, the three years will be frozen indefinitely. While it’s frozen, a litigation friend can claim on behalf of them. 

If you require more details on the personal injury claims time limit, you can call our team on the number above. 

I Was Harmed Due To Another Person’s Careless Or Dangerous Driving, What Should I Do?

We’re often asked, “what should I do if I’m in an accident on the road?”. In the event of a road traffic accident that causes an injury, you should prioritise seeking medical attention. This not only ensures that your injuries are treated correctly but also provides useful evidence that could help if you decide to seek compensation. 

Once you’ve sought medical care, you could start obtaining other evidence. For instance, anything that could help to prove that someone else was negligent for your injuries could be used to support your claim. This might be pictures or footage of the accident or details of any witnesses that saw the accident happen.

It can be more difficult to obtain certain types of evidence than others. For that reason, it may be beneficial to have a solicitor representing your case. They can use their previous knowledge and experience from handling similar cases so you get more money from your claim. 

However, we understand you may be concerned about the legal costs normally associated with seeking legal representation. If so, there is an option that could help to ease any concerns you may have. The following section explores this option in further detail alongside how you could work with a solicitor from our panel.

Claim For Injuries Caused By Dangerous Or Careless Driving On A No Win No Fee Basis

Our panel of expert solicitors all work on a No Win No Fee basis, which is an agreement between you and your solicitor that outlines what conditions they meet before you pay them. For this reason, it can also be referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). 

It states that if your solicitor is successful with handling your injury claim, you will be required to pay a small success fee out of your compensation package. This will be a pre-agreed percentage of your settlement. However, if your solicitor is unsuccessful in handling your claim, you won’t be asked to pay them anything. 

Additionally, there are no upfront costs involved in this type of agreement and no costs while the claim is ongoing. 

How can I work with a No Win No Fee solicitor?

If you’re interested in working with a road traffic accident solicitor from our panel, our advisors can assess whether you have a valid claim and, if so, appoint a solicitor to your case. 

Get in touch with our team for more information on making a claim or the difference between careless driving vs dangerous driving. Contact us today by: 

  • Calling 020 3870 4868
  • Using the call-back request form to choose when an advisor rings you
  • Chatting on live chat

Useful Pages

The Reported Road Casualties of Great Britain: Annual Report 2020 provides some useful information on different road accidents.

See the government guide on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The Whiplash Reform Programme provides information on changes that have been made to claims for whiplash injuries.

See our guide for more information on car accident claims.

If you were in a car accident and need information on how long you have to report it, our guide could help.

Were you hit by an uninsured driver? If so, our guide could help you understand the steps you need to take to seek compensation.

FAQs About Careless And Dangerous Driving

We’ve aimed to answer some commonly asked questions on dangerous and careless driving in the following section.

Are dangerous driving offences heard in a Magistrates Court?

It’s possible the case could be heard in either the Magistrates or Crown Court. 

What is the minimum sentence for dangerous driving?

The sentences and penalties for dangerous driving differ depending on the offence. For instance, causing death by dangerous driving could result in 1-14 years in prison and disqualification from driving for a minimum of two years.

Is dangerous driving an automatic ban?

You can receive an automatic ban for dangerous driving. 

How do you prove dangerous driving?

If someone’s driving fell far below the expected standard of a competent driver, this would be classed as dangerous driving. You could prove this through things like witness statements and dashcam footage.

How common are road traffic accidents in Great Britain?

In the year ending June 2021, there were 119,850 casualties on the road of all severities. As you can see below, they could cause various categories of injury. These figures come from the DfT and are provisional.

Careless Driving v Dangerous Driving

Careless Driving v Dangerous Driving – Whiplash Reforms Explained

In 2021, changes were made to the way whiplash claims were handled. Now, if you suffer injuries in a car accident, and they are valued under £5,000, there is a different way to claim. You would need to claim via a government portal. There is also a tariff by which you would be compensated.

To speak to us about your whiplash injury, please call our team. They can offer you free legal advice about the process of claiming for your injuries.

Careless Driving v Dangerous Driving – What Are Some Examples?

A few examples of careless driving could include misusing lanes to gain an advantage over other road users, dazzling road users with headlights that should be dipped, and overtaking on the inside.

A few examples of dangerous driving could include driving under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs or alcohol, looking at a map or reading it while driving, or dangerous overtaking.

For a full list of examples, you could visit the Crown Prosecution Service’s website.

Thank you for reading our guide exploring careless driving vs dangerous driving. We hope you found it helpful.