If you’ve been caught careless driving you may have hogged a lane, ignored a junction or done something else that put another driver at risk. You may have been aware of this at the time, or the charge may come as a total surprise. Whatever the situation, it can be worrying and upsetting to receive a charge for careless driving, and if it’s your first offence you might not know what to do. So, what should you do if you’ve been caught careless driving?
Get a lawyer
If you need help after being accused of driving without due care and attention, or would like to dispute the allegation, the first step is to get advice from a legal professional. As careless driving generally carries a penalty of between 3 and 9 points on your licence and can involve serious fines, you may benefit from a solicitor or barrister to represent you in court. They can explain any jargon to you and help guide you through the process.
Check your vehicle
You can dispute your careless driving claim if you have a good defence, such as a mechanical fault on your vehicle that you didn’t know about before the incident. For example, you may have had a new issue with your brakes that caused problems whilst stopping at a junction. It’s always important to do checks on your vehicle, especially before a long journey, and therefore after the claim you must ensure that your car is in good working order.
Rule 148 of the Highway Code emphasises the importance of concentration whilst driving. It lists several distractions in a vehicle that could cause accidents; including satnavs, radios, smoking, maps, eating and drinking and other passengers in the vehicle. Whilst
it’s obviously not against the law to have these things in your vehicle, they can cause you to drive carelessly. Therefore, after being charged with careless driving, whether you dispute the claim or not, you should take extra care in your vehicle and try to reduce the number of distractions so you don’t get charged again in the future.
Book an eye test
You may have been careless driving because of an issue with your eyesight. Perhaps you couldn’t see a sign properly, or you missed a line at a junction. If you’re struggling with your vision and think it may be affecting your driving, you need to book an eye test. You could be putting yourself, and anyone else on the road, in danger.
Check your theory
Sometimes people are caught careless driving and they don’t even know it. A common example is the misuse of motorway lanes; people are caught lane hogging without realising. What some drivers don’t realise is that they should stay in the left-hand lane unless they are overtaking, in which case they should use the middle or right-hand lanes. Hogging the middle lane can be dangerous as the lane can get congested and could lead to accidents. If you’re unsure about how to drive on a motorway, read over the theory to refresh your knowledge – and make sure you put it into practise.