Top 10 annoying driving habits
Most of us make a reasonable effort to be careful and courteous on the road so when we see other drivers being selfish, rude or driving dangerously, it can make our blood boil.
Some driving styles are more than merely frustrating to others; hogging an overtaking lane on a motorway when the nearside lanes are clear, for example, is actually an offence and falls under the dangerous driving category. Dangerous driving encompasses any driving style which falls under the following:
- Driving dangerously
- Without due care and attention
- Without reasonable consideration for other road users
But what are the habits of drivers which most annoy us? Which rise to the top of behaviours which both frustrate and infuriate us? There are plenty to choose from but here are our top 10.
Despite messages on matrix signs and police pulling drivers over, it is still extremely common to see cars driving for miles along motorways and dual carriageways without returning to the left lane after overtaking. This causes congestion in the outside lane, forces other drivers to make additional lane change to pass and encourages bad behaviour such as undertaking (passing on the left) which is also an offence.
Experienced drivers can often tell what’s about
to happen by the speed and road positions of other cars but sometimes others’
manoeuvres take us by surprise, especially if they don’t give warning of their
intentions by using indicators. It’s either a lack of consideration for other
road users or sheer laziness but can still be classed as careless driving by
While most of us appreciate that excessive speed
can contribute to serious accidents, sometimes even the posted speed limit is
too fast. If there are hoards of school children on the pavement or visibility
is low, it is frightening to see drivers travel too quickly. Also annoying are
those who don’t make good progress. With dry and bright conditions on an open
road, it can be immensely frustrating to follow someone not maintaining the
You are in the outside lane, comfortably passing
vehicles in the other lanes and your lane slows a little. Rather than being
patient, the driver behind pulls to the left and sees how many cars can be
passed on the inside before cutting back in to the outside lane. It’s
impatient, dangerous and rude. Oh, and illegal too. Try not to be tempted to
shut the gap in front of you: you’re simply putting yourself and others at
This can take many forms but alarmingly, there
are still many drivers who use their mobile phones behind the wheel. In-car
tech can also be a distraction and while voice recognition is improving, it’s
still not perfect and drivers have to resort to screens and menus to change
even basic settings such as heating controls on some cars. Distracted driving
is easy to spot too. It ranges from the frustrating (but fairly innocent)
scenario where cars sit at traffic lights once they have turned to green to the
downright dangerous with vehicles wandering across lanes.
You wish to turn right into a side road but
there is a queue of traffic in the other direction and someone is sitting with
their car blocking the junction. Now you can’t turn right and are holding up a
stream of traffic behind you. Junctions shouldn’t need a yellow box or ‘keep
clear’ lettering emblazoned across the tarmac: leaving a gap simply shows
consideration for others.
‘Only a fool breaks the two second rule.’ This
is the rule of thumb for ensuring a safe distance between cars. You count two
seconds after the car in front passes a fixed object such as a street lamp
before your car passes that same object. And it should be at least double that
in poor conditions. So when the driver behind is so close you can’t even see
their number plate in your mirror, you just know if you have to brake hard in
an emergency they will run into the back of you. In any aggressive situation
like this, it’s best to let tailgaters pass in the interests of your own
Drivers who tap their brakes ahead of any and
every gentle bend or for no apparent reason - but not firmly enough to actually
slow their vehicle - can prove immensely annoying for drivers behind. Seeing a
car’s brake lights ahead can cause a ripple effect with following vehicles
braking in turn. Random or hesitant braking can be caused by a lack of
confidence, inability to read the road conditions or simply a nervous habit.
Whatever the cause, it’s certainly annoying.
Slip road manners
Slip roads can cause immense annoyance. There
are those who risk themselves and others by cutting across to the exit at the
last minute due to unfamiliarity with the road, distraction or blatantly trying
to avoid a queue of patient drivers in the inside lane waiting to leave the
motorway. Joining etiquette is also important. How many times have you
patiently merged with traffic on the main road to find someone undertaking all
other cars on the slip road to race ahead and squeeze in just where the slip
road runs out?
There is a whole host of possibilities when it
comes to annoying parking. Blocking driveways, parking on pavements so
pedestrians have to step onto the road, drivers using disabled spaces when not entitled
to and either straddling a line in a parking bay or not parking straight so
it’s hard for others to climb in and out of their cars.
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter