Too close, too fast and on the phone: The UK’s worst driving habits
In an ideal world, we’d each have our own private road system with no traffic jams, potholes or annoying fellow drivers. The motorways would be a serene and empty space and parking would always be available right outside a destination.
Unfortunately, we live in the real world and that means dealing with other drivers on the roads. A recent survey by car finance provider Zuto revealed the habits that UK drivers find most frustrating in other motorists – and the bad habits they admit to themselves.
The top five habits we find most frustrating in other drivers…
1. Driving too close (84%)
It’s easy to see why this would cause upset for drivers. Someone driving closely behind you can feel aggressive and it increases the likelihood of a collision if you need to break sharply.
2. Using the phone while driving (84%)
Is there any text or call which is important enough to risk someone’s life, or your own?
3. Not stopping at zebra crossings for pedestrians (72%)
We are all drilled in the Highway Code when we pass our driving tests; we know we should stop to let pedestrians use zebra crossings and give way to them if they have begun to cross a side road. For some reason, this courtesy goes out the window once some drivers get their licence.
4. Driving too slowly (71%)
We’ve all been stuck on a country lane behind someone pootling along at a speed which would allow them to examine wildflowers in the hedgerow in great detail. Some of us need to get somewhere!
5. Parking badly (68%)
Around 40% of drivers have had a parking ticket at some point – is it any wonder, when more than two thirds of drivers name this as a pet peeve?
The top five bad habits we admit to ourselves…
1. Parking badly (34%)
Why not straddle two bays – it will give you more room to open your door! Drivers also owned up to blocking driveways, parking in family spots despite having no children and parking too far out from the kerb.
2. Breaking the speed limit (29%)
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) says that reducing driving speeds by even 1mph can reduce accident frequency by 3-6%. High speeds result in more accidents and worse injuries, but it’s still one of the major failings drivers admit.
3. Driving too close (14%)
Also known as tailgating, this can be done to express annoyance at the driver in front, or simply through being careless about distances. It is tempting, though, especially if you think other drivers might butt into your lane if you leave a gap.
4. Going too slowly (14%)
More than one in ten drivers admit to driving too slowly, which can be a criminal offence, either as careless driving or failure to make progress. Driving very slowly may result in being stopped by police, as drink drivers often compensate for lack of awareness by crawling along.
5. Stopping in yellow box junctions (14%)
The law says you must not enter a box junction unless your exit is clear, but this is not very well enforced and in heavy traffic, you might just be leaving room for another car to block your way.
What are your biggest driving bugbears? A road offence or crash is a very unpleasant experience, not to mention causing immediate expense and a longer-term increase in insurance premiums. Which bad habits could you work on to reduce your risk?