Reckless driving

Tire Iron

Reckless driving means operating a vehicle in a way that endangers or is likely to endanger people or property.

Most behaviors associated with reckless or aggressive driving are illegal.

Drivers can face charges for endangering someone’s safety or causing injury to another person on the roads. A reckless driving charge could include negligent behaviors like speeding; improper lane changes; and inattentive, erratic, or aggressive driving. A driver could face up to to six years in prison and $10,000 in fines for reckless driving.

Traffic crashes are more dangerous and can be deadly when they involve excessive speeds or other reckless behaviors, but these tragedies are 100% preventable.

WisDOT uses a combination of strategies to raise awareness and create a safer transportation system for all, including community partnerships, education, enforcement, and engineering. Wisconsin State Patrol works with local law enforcement agencies as needed on special enforcement campaigns to address issues like reckless driving.

Safe driving tips

  • Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Courteous driving encourages other drivers to be courteous. Aggressive driving influences others to drive aggressively.
  • Plan ahead to avoid the worst congestion and allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Check​ for the latest travel conditions on your route.
  • If you run into frustrations along your route, try to relax. Take a deep breath, chat with a companion, listen to music and accept that your trip may take longer. 
  • Don't drive when you are angry, upset or overly tired.
  • Buckle up, phone down. Every trip, every time.​​

How to respond to aggressive driving

  • Ignore honking and rude gestures. Don't respond and don't make eye contact.
  • If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let them by.
  • Give speeding drivers extra space. If someone is tailgating you or trying to provoke you to speed, do not engage. Safely move your vehicle out of the way and let the driver pass you.
  • Wear your seat belt. If an encounter with an aggressive driver results in a crash, your seat belt will significantly reduce your chances of being injured or killed.
  • If you can do so safely, contact police with the aggressive driver’s vehicle description, license number, the location, and direction of travel.​

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