Duties of a Driver

Drivers have certain duties outlined in law and jurisprudence. A driver’s failure to observe any of these duties may lead to a finding of negligence in the event of a car accident. 

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, call our personal injury attorney at (916) 270-6880 for a free consultation.  A personal injury attorney can establish negligence and help you gain recovery for your injuries.

Duty of Care

A driver must exercise reasonable care in operating a motor vehicle. What constitutes reasonable care may vary depending on the circumstances. The general test is the actions of a reasonably prudent man under similar circumstances applied against the driver’s actions.

For example, the exercise of reasonable care likely includes properly securing a load to be transported. Take a driver transporting a ladder on top of their vehicle.  A reasonably prudent driver would likely tie-down the ladder or otherwise secure it before transport. Accordingly, if a driver did not properly secure the ladder and it fell off during transport causing damage to the next car, the driver carrying the mattress was likely negligent.  After all, a reasonably prudent driver under the circumstances would have adequately secured the ladder, and in this case, the driver did not which lead to an accident.

How I Can Help You

I help clients secure financial compensation for their injuries. Specifically, I help injured clients recover compensation from insurance companies, negligent drivers, and other liable parties.

The first step to financial recovery is a free consultation. Call my office at (916) 270-6880 Monday – Saturday from 8 AM to 6 PM to learn more about your personal injury rights and damages.

Duty to Look

A person driving a vehicle also has a concurrent duty to look. This means keeping a proper lookout for other vehicles and persons on the highway. Failure to observe this duty constitutes negligence.

The failure to exercise the duty to look may be excused depending on the circumstances. For example, a driver is not necessarily considered negligent in observing the duty to look when visibility on the road is reduced.

Proving that a driver did not observe their duty to look is a question of fact, which means that it is something that has to be shown in court.

Duty to Stop Following Accident

Drivers are expected to stop after an accident and perform several actions. These actions depend on whether or not persons or property are injured in the accident. 


A. If Persons Are Injured


The driver must immediately stop if a person is injured in an accident. The driver is also required to give the following information: 

  • Their name
  • Current address
  • The registration number of the vehicle they were driving
  • The name and current residence address of the owner of the vehicle

The information mentioned above must be given to the following persons: 

  • To the person who was hit.
  • To the driver or occupants of any vehicle involved in the collision 
  • To any traffic or police officer present at the scene of the accident.

If the injured person needs medical treatment, the driver is also required to render reasonable assistance to the injured person. Reasonable assistance depends on the injuries sustained by the victim and may include transporting the person to a medical facility for treatment. A driver, when requested, must also show his or her driver’s license or any other available identification. 


B. If Property is Damaged


A driver is similarly required to stop at the scene of the accident when property is damaged. The driver is also required to do either of the following: 

  • Locate the owner or person in charge of the property and notify them of the name and current address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved, and, if requested, present their driver’s license and vehicle registration; OR
  • Leave, in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged in the accident, a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances and notify the police or Highway Patrol.
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