We all have our pet peeves when it comes to sharing the road with other drivers, from lane switching to music blaring and every no-signal in between. But some are worse than others.
We put the question out there to over 1,500 of our team members: What’s the most annoying driving habit you see on the road? Ranked in order from “I really can’t stand that” to “I think I’ll start walking to work,” here are the top 10 annoying things that people do on the road, and how to avoid making the same mistakes.
10. Not paying attention at lights
Perhaps nothing is more frustrating when you’re in a hurry than missing a green light, especially if it’s the result of someone in front of you not paying attention. From checking their reflection in the mirror to chatting with a passenger, one little distraction can hold up a huge queue of eager drivers.
Guilty? Getting a red light during a long drive can feel like a sigh of relief, but don’t make yourself too comfortable. Use the extra seconds to take a deep breath and refocus on the road, rather than welcoming a distraction.
Ever wonder why the flow of traffic on your morning commute has suddenly come to a standstill, only to discover minutes later that every single car had stopped to gawk at the aftermath of an accident?
Guilty? Rubbernecking, though unneccessary, is also hard to avoid. If it happens to you, remember that gawking is often how accidents start in the first place. Resist the temptation to look, and figure out what happened once you get home safely.
8. Jumping queues in traffic
Somehow many annoying drivers still believe that swerving in and out of traffic will get them to their destination heaps faster. The reality is, constant lane switching achieves nothing other than annoying every other driver on the motorway.
Guilty? We’ll all be tempted at some point to switch lanes in a bid to beat traffic. When the urge hits you, merge only when there is a safe gap available and don’t annoy other drivers by constantly swerving back and forth. Wait a while between moves and remind yourself that a new lane won’t make all the traffic go away.
7. Not indicating at roundabouts
Not indicating at a roundabout is annoying in its own right, but unfortunately it also suggests the driver hasn’t decided which exit they’re meant to take and will likely end up switching lanes mid-turn, thereby annoying you even more.
Guilty? Sometimes it’s hard to anticipate your move at a roundabout. When in doubt, flick your right signal on and go full-circle. The extra couple seconds will help you make up your mind, while giving your fellow drivers the courtesy of knowing what you intend to do.
6. Going too slow
Whether they’re not sure where to go, are unaware of the speed limit or have dazed off into space, those who drive too slow are the source of much road rage. Adding to the frustration are the slow drivers who suddenly stop or pull over without indicating, leaving others with little notice to react.
Guilty? If you catch yourself slowing down while thinking about where you need to go, pull over for a few seconds to figure it out. Alternatively, if you’re slowing down as a result of spacing out or being deep in thought, take the nearest exit and have a coffee break to reenergise.
5. Not getting out of the right hand lane
Although it’s meant to be just for passing, many drivers like to overstay their welcome in the right lane. This annoying habit doesn’t sit well with others, particularly if the culprit’s going 20 km under the speed limit.
Guilty? If you catch yourself hogging the right lane, the best way to redeem yourself is by switching over as quickly as possible without cutting anyone off. Leave lots of space between the surrounding cars and keep your speed consistent. Don’t give your fellow drivers another reason to honk at you!
4. Not properly merging onto the motorway
Nothing slows traffic down faster than not merging properly onto a motorway, or into a motorway lane. Drivers who expect others to let them in or who completely stop while waiting for an opportunity to merge, cause a lot of unnecessary traffic that could make all the difference between getting to work on time or not.
Guilty? While motorway conditions are unpredictable, having good driving reflexes and techniques are key to merging safely and courteously. Merge at the same speed as motorway traffic, turn on your turn signal, look for a sizable gap and use your mirrors to ensure cars aren’t coming up too fast from behind you.
3. Waiting until the last second to change lanes
Whether it’s at an intersection, motorway or a roundabout, drivers hate it when people wait until the very last second to change lanes; especially when they soar up the free left lane to forcibly merge into a queue of patient drivers.
Guilty? If you often find yourself merging at the last minute on your way to or from work, then it’s time to change up your routine. Try leaving your house at a different time to beat the traffic, or practice merging earlier to ensure you won’t cut anyone off or squeeze your way into an unwelcoming queue.
By far, this is one of the most annoying driving habits out there.
If you’re a safe driver who always abides by the speed limit, you’ve likely been rewarded by a tailgater who thinks the “6” in “60” has been turned upside down, or who has forgotten that a safe driving distance exists for a reason.
Guilty? Tailgating is something we often do without even realising it. It’s easy to follow someone too closely, particularly if you’re in a hurry or you want to alert someone to the fact that they’re driving too slow. Challenge yourself to always drive at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you during ideal conditions, and double the time in poor conditions. Once you train yourself to leave a safe distance, it’ll be much harder to fall into the habit of tailgating.
1. Judging you for singing your heart out
Finally we come to the driver who has spotted you singing your heart out and is staring with a judgemental glimmer in their eyes. Feeling embarrassed, you turn down the music and close your mouth to avoid their glare. The song inside you dies.
Guilty? With so many miserable drivers on the road, why not applaud the ones who are clearly having a good time? Turn up your radio and sing along with them!
Those are the top 10 things that really drive us crazy on the road - what are yours?