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You can commit the offence of dangerous driving in one of two ways, either because:

  • the standard of your driving is very poor, or
  • your vehicle is in very bad condition

In relation to the standard of your driving, section 2A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 provides that you will be regarded as driving dangerously if:

(a) the way you drive falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and

(b) it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.

It will be a matter for a court to decide whether your driving has fallen 'far below' the required standard but 'dangerous' refers to a danger of personal injury or of serious damage to property.

In relation to the condition of your vehicle, section 2A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 provides that a person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous. The defects/condition must be able to be seen at first glance, otherwise they cannot be 'obvious'. However, if you drive knowing your vehicle has a serious defect, even if it is hidden, you can still commit the offence of dangerous driving.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.