There’s nothing more frustrating in the car than to see another road user driving recklessly. But if we are honest, most of us have bad driving habits. Here are nine of those that we all need to avoid doing in future.
It always seems to be the time that you are most in a hurry that you’ll get stuck behind a car doing 20mph on a 40mph road. Many drivers try to encourage the driver in front to speed up by following very close behind them, but this is completely the wrong thing to do. Tailgating puts you at huge risk of hitting the car in front, especially if the driver has to brake sharply or unexpectedly. Not only can this cause a dangerous accident, but the blame is entirely at the hands of the tailgating driver.
There’s no good reason to tailgate; it just frustrates other drivers and puts you at risk. The small amount of time that you could save by getting a slower driver to move out of the way isn’t worth the danger of crashing.
Driving without the right safety equipment
Does your car always have the right safety equipment in it? Modern cars are equipped with a good range of high-quality safety features, but there are still plenty of items that it is vital to have with you at all times. This includes everything a wind-up torch and a reflective triangle to a car fire extinguisher. If you are involved in an accident or have a breakdown, these items can all be extremely important, so make sure you have them.
Rubbernecking occurs when we get distracted by something and crane our necks around to get a better view. It’s quite common to see people rubbernecking as they drive past an accident, as they try to get a look at the scene. The problem with rubbernecking is that it effectively just means that you are not concentrating on the road in front of you. Police are cracking down on the problem of rubbernecking, so it’s not only dangerous – it can get you in trouble with the law too.
Driving when distracted
Rubbernecking is one form of distracted driving, but it’s actually true that there is a larger problem – the mobile phone. You might think that it’s OK to check your phone while you’re waiting at traffic lights or take an important call but it’s actually illegal to use your mobile at all unless you’re using a hands-free kit. If you are caught using a mobile phone while driving you can get a 6-point penalty on your license as well as a £200 fine.
Not adapting to poor weather
Do you drive the same in the wet as you do in the dry? If the answer is yes, you could be driving dangerously. It’s generally accepted that in poor conditions you need to extend the distance between you and the car in front of you. This is because your stopping distance increases in poor conditions.
Ignoring stop signs
We have all approached a slowly approached a stop sign, see that there is nothing coming and simply pulled away. But a stop sign is always there for a reason, and the rules are clear; if it says ‘stop’ then you need to stop. Stop signs are usually put in hazardous junctions where it’s difficult to see oncoming traffic clearly until you’re at the junction itself. Once again, it’s important to remember that not only is it dangerous when you don’t stop, but you can also be fined if you are caught.
Speeding may well be the road rule that we are all most guilty of breaking. But driving too fast is one of the most common causes of accidents and the roads would be a much safer place if everyone stuck to the speed limit.
Failing to check blind spots
It’s not hard to see why blind spots are dangerous. We tend to rely heavily on our mirrors when changing lanes, but if you don’t check your blind spot you could end up driving directly into the path of the car next to you. Yes, you need to check your mirror carefully, but also take the time to look over your shoulder before you start to move.
Driving when tired
Driving when you are tired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. So if you’re feeling sleepy while you’re behind the wheel, make sure that you pull over as soon as possible and take a power nap somewhere safe.