On the whole, the UK isn’t really a nation of bad drivers. My Cypriot boyfriend, after picking up our rental car, came home smiling “Wow it’s so nice to drive here, nobody’s ramming into each other”. However, there are still some bad driving habits which annoy everyone else on the road. Follow our safe driving tips and take heed of your instructor's advice in your driving lessons, so that you don’t fall into these traps:
1. Nudging pedestrians
Gaining a couple of seconds by edging onto the pedestrian crossing might not seem like a bad driving habit, but from a pedestrian’s perspective it’s not fun dodging cars as you cross a busy road, and it can feel intimidating, especially for someone who can’t walk very well. Most of the time pedestrians are moving as fast as they can, even though they could never outrun your vehicle. Be patient and give them time to cross.
2. Throwing rubbish out of the window
This is one of those bad driving habits that people think they can get away with easily. Just because you can’t see your litter doesn’t mean that it’s magically disappeared. Littering is unhygienic, unpleasant and illegal. Keep hold of your rubbish until you can get rid of it.
3. Using your mobile phone
The bad driving habit of bad driving habits. Using a mobile phone is a no-no, even for a quick call. Mobile phones are distracting, and when you’re driving, there’s only one thing you should be thinking about — the road.
Tailgating is one of the bad driving habits that’s most likely to enrage other drivers. Stopping distances are in place for a reason, so you really won’t get to your destination any faster if you’re almost touching the car in front. All that will happen is that you’re more likely to collide with the person in front if they have to brake suddenly. Before you squeeze into a space, consider that the person behind might have left enough room to allow them to break safely.
This is another bad driving habit that is guaranteed to cause road rage. The lines painted in the car park have been measured so that the maximum number of cars can fit into the space with enough room for the passengers to exit. Don’t park in both spaces at once, it’s not cool. You’re also not allowed to park in a disabled space because someone who really needs it could be behind you.
5. Blinding other passengers with your fog lights
Your fog lights must be switched on when visibility is severely reduced, but if you’re riding down an unlit country lane at night, switch to your regular lights when another car approaches. You could dazzle the driver and cause a crash.
6. Use your indicators
Other road users can’t read your thoughts, so use your indicators well in advance so that people know what you are intending to do.
7. Keep the music down
In a car you have your own private space, so it’s no wonder that loud music has made our list of bad driving habits. Remember that other road users can hear your music through the car window, so you should keep the noise down to a reasonable level. Loud music also makes you less aware of your surroundings, and you are obliged to turn the music off when an emergency vehicle approaches.
8. Showing that cyclist who’s boss
They may be irritatingly slow, but until proper cycling infrastructure is built, most will choose to use the road. In the event of a collision, a cyclist will come out worse. So be courteous and give cyclists plenty of room.
9. Not wearing a seatbelt
You must wear a seatbelt according to UK law. If you don’t wear a seatbelt, not only could you sustain an even more serious injury, but the force of any rear passengers flying forward can kill people sitting in the front.