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Bad Driving Habits That Press Your Buttons

In my last post, I discussed road rage and how to avoid it.  Now, in any discussion of road rage, there are two sides to the story, if not more.  For nearly every incident of road rage (but not all of them), there has probably been a bad driving habit that has triggered it.

Some things really press other people’s buttons more than others.  The ultimate way to avoid road rage, therefore, is to avoid these bad habits.  Recently, I came across a survey from the UK that listed the ten most annoying driving habits that get other drivers steaming hot under the collar.  I’m not sure how many of these ones are just as annoying here Down Under but most of them will be.

So it’s confession time. How many of these bad habits, presented in ascending order of annoyance, have you been guilty of?

10 Red light jumping. This either refers to that person who believes that the orange light means “speed up so you can get to the other side before the light turns red” or the person who knows that the light is going to turn green any second now and starts inching forward while the opposing light is still orange. Or else it’s both of these habits.  Can anyone else see the major crash in the making here?

9 Being slow at traffic lights.  This is the reverse of the person who inches forward before the light changes. This person has been quietly chilling out at the traffic lights while waiting for the green light and is now away with the pixies.  Hopefully, they haven’t been trying to check their phone while waiting.  The honk of a horn behind them is what jerks them back into the real world in a flurry of acceleration and gear changing.

driver ed 48 Hesitant or tentative driving.  OK, this is my bad habit, so I’m more likely to forgive it in others.  Put it down to years of being a cyclist and to downsizing from my responsive automatic big engined Ford Falcon to a smaller engined and rather elderly manual Nissan ute that is a bit slower getting off the mark.  Hesitation is also a hallmark of half the people on L and P plates (the other half are way overconfident).  Getting angry at nervous drivers, yelling abuse at them and the like is only going to make them more nervous.  This strikes me as a situation where patience is called for – but I’m biased!

7 Overtaking on the left.  In most cases, this is illegal, unless there are multiple lanes (e.g. on a one-way street, in places where there are “vehicles with more than one passenger” lanes or bike lanes).  It does happen when there is someone driving a snail in the fast lane on the right.

brakelight6 Sudden braking, especially at traffic lights.  This usually gives the driver behind the heebie-jeebies.  However, I can’t help viewing this “bad habit” in the context of Habit 10 and Habit 2.  What’s more, we all know that there are situations where sudden braking has to be done – and sometimes, the car can do it for us.  If someone brakes suddenly at the traffic lights, give them the benefit of the doubt: they might be able to see a fire engine with lights and sirens going coming that you can’t.

5 Using the flush median as an extra driving lane.  OK, if you need to turn right and there’s a flush median provided, you need to go there.  But if you’re just using it to overtake other drivers… don’t.

Keep Left Unless Overtaking

4 Dangerous overtaking.  You know the person – the one that overtakes you and is about to overtake the car in front of you but then realises that there’s a B-train coming the other way so he/she cuts in between you and the car in front of you, forcing you to bang on the brakes to avoid rear-ending them.

3 Not indicating or indicating incorrectly.  This would actually be at the top of my list and is the reason why I’m tentative at roundabouts – you never know if that nut indicating left at the roundabout is actually going to go straight through or if the person who looks like they’re coming straight through in the opposite direction to you is going to turn right at the last moment.

2 Tailgating.  The flip side of Habit 6 and possibly Habit 7.  Intimidates and annoys people, and if they have to bang on the brakes because a cat runs across the road, you’re going to ram them and the insurance company will probably consider you to be at fault.

1 Texting while driving. You may think that texting while driving only affects one person, but it’s usually the cause of people failing to look before they enter an intersection, indicating late (or not at all) or being slow at the green lights.


So did this UK survey miss anything?  What presses your buttons?

Happy driving,



  1. Sean says:

    Actually I hesitate when the lights go green because too many times, I have seen people fly through a red light, I would prefer to live for a few more years thank you very much.

    September 17th, 2014 at 3:22 pm