Last updated: 03/09/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
Top 10 driving habits you should avoid
While we all like to think of ourselves as faultless drivers, there is a long list of bad habits that anyone can pick up, putting you at risk on the road, as well as annoying other drivers and passengers. While it's unlikely anyone passed their driving test with all of these bad habits, it pays to do your best to avoid them when you can!
In no particular order, here are our top 10 bad habits you should avoid on the road:
In This Guide:
- Speeding and Reckless driving
- Driving too slowly
- Failing to indicate
- Drunk driving
- Using a phone while driving
- Middle lane hogging
- Poor parking
- Not checking your blind spot
- Running traffic lights
Speeding and Reckless driving
Our first bad driving habit is unsurprisingly one of the most common. While it's always possible to tick over the speed limit without noticing for a brief moment, continually breaching it, especially in areas you aren't familiar with, is a seriously dangerous habit. Speed bumps, potholes, blind corners and other such hazards are much harder to avoid at high-speed, and traveling too quickly can be very off putting for other road users.
Driving too slowly
While travelling too fast is almost definitely more dangerous, driving too slowly ranks highly on many people's most annoying bad driving habits lists. It's often very frustrating for following drivers, and can cause other road users to attempt overtaking maneuvers that may not be safe. While you shouldn't feel forced to drive faster than you are comfortable with, if you're unable to travel as quickly as other cars, and there is a queue building up in your rear-view mirror, do the courteous thing and pull over to allow some of those cars pass.
If you're following a car that is travelling slower than you'd like, try to avoid tailgating them out of frustration. While it might seem like you're just giving them an indication that you want them to speed up, in reality it's a dangerous driving habit that has the potential to spook the other driver into a mistake. Aggressive driving like this can not only cause an accident but also could lead to you being on the wrong end of a vindictive reaction, like sharp brake-checking. Don't let a slow driver push you into road rage, just slow down and adhere to the two second rule.
Failing to indicate
Not using your indicator is a big driving no-no. This is because, while it's frustrating and dangerous for fellow drivers, it's also one of the poor driving habits that affects others too. Pedestrians who try to cross a side-road only to have a car turn in and nearly run them over can feel rightly aggrieved, as can cyclists who get cut up in traffic. For this reason it's important to stick to the first rule of driving; mirror, signal, manoeuvre!
This one goes without saying, and is less of a bad habit than a bad decision. In the interests of traffic safety, you should always be under the legal limit when operating a car or motorcycle. If you aren't, your reactions will be impaired and you run a much greater risk of causing a crash or accident on the road. While you may think you are alright to drive after a few beers, it's very easy to lose track of how much alcohol you've consumed so the recommendation is always to drink nothing at all when driving if possible.
Using a phone while driving
Talking or texting on your cell phone while driving is no longer acceptable, and has been illegal in the UK since 2007, with an extremely strict 6-point punishment since 2017. For these reasons, as well as being a bad driving habit, using your phone while you drive could lose you your licence and land you a hefty fine! distracted driving is a common cause of accident in the UK, so keep your phone in your pocket and your hands on the steering wheel at all times.
Middle lane hogging
Like driving while using a mobile phone, middle lane hogging is one of those bad driving habits that has been made illegal in recent years. Since 2013 police have been able to issue on-the-spot fines for drivers hogging the middle lane. The Highway Code states: "You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past. Slow-moving or speed-restricted vehicles should always remain in the left-hand lane of the carriageway unless overtaking."
A bad driving habit that can land you with a frustrated note on your windscreen, poor parking by another driver annoys us all at some point! It seems so simple just to back up and try again, so why is it that so many road users seem to end up taking up two spaces? Perhaps they aren't comfortable with the size of their vehicle or they were in a rush to get into the supermarket? Either way, don't be the guy straddled across two spots while others drive around searching for a space.
Not checking your blind spot
If you've ever been in a motorway lane when another driver has pulled right in front of you seemingly out of nowhere, you know how scary it can be when you're in a blind spot. To avoid a nasty accident, make sure to always check over your shoulder before moving over. While it sounds simple, forgetting to check just once could be one time too many.
Running traffic lights
While many drivers subscribe to the "Just put your foot down, you'll make it" school of traffic light negotiation, you'd be surprised how many times it actually catches drivers out. If you pass through the light when it has already turned red, it stands to reason that another light at the junction will be green. For this reason, only pass through an amber light if you're sure you can make it and it would be dangerous for you to come to a stop before the light. If you have time to put your foot on the accelerator, you have time to put it on the brake pedal.