What about when something happens fast?

When you are driving and you find yourself suddenly at risk to crash or other danger, you don't have to respond perfectly, you just have to respond reasonably, as an ordinary person would do in that situation. While you might have made better choices and driven better if you weren't freaked out (scared by the danger and risk of a crash), that's ok. The standard is what any reasonable person, while scared and freaked out, would do. So in such situations, if you don’t make the best choice, that’s okay. This is because mistakes happen when people are scared, and you are only required to act reasonably for a scared person.

An example: Driving in the middle lane on the freeway, and a box falls off a truck in the slow lane not far in front of you, and lands partially in your lane. That is an unexpected danger, and you face the risk of crashing. You could: 1) -drive into the box and hope it's empty, or a contains stuff your car could drive over, or 2) - slam on the brakes and hope you manage to stop in time (are there cars behind you with enough space to stop?), or 3) - swerve a bit into the fast lane to try to avoid the box and hope not to hit any cars in that lane.

In this situation, you aren't punished for taking any reasonable action, even if, in hindsight, one could later say that action was "wrong.”

If you are driving while drunk, or stoned, or in a car not in good working order (see “What If My Car Was Messed Up?”), if you suddenly face a risk of crash or other danger, you won't forgiven for choosing the wrong response. The courts’ view is that you were already in the wrong before the danger arose, so the law will not presume you acted reasonably, whatever split-second decision you make.

If you have been injured in an accident and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney, contact us online or call us at 916-921-6400 or toll-free at 800-404-5400 to set up a FREE consultation.

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