Statistics show that we're all getting behind the wheels of our cars more frequently, with drivers hitting the highways to cover 3.22 trillion miles across the US in 2017, up from 3.1 trillion miles in 2015. With more drivers on the road comes increased traffic congestion, and increased traffic congestion only leads to more incidents of road rage.
Road-rage incidents can include verbal abuse, rude gestures, aggressive driving toward other road users, and in some extreme cases, physical violence. Some people have even been killed in road rage incidents.
Amazingly, 80% of drivers have displayed some road-rage behaviors while behind the wheel of their car–which means that very few of us have the moral high ground when it comes to road rage!
Often, the road-rage perpetrator believes that he or she's in the right, simply because the target of the aggression has been responsible for some truly terrible driving. But even the worst driving behavior doesn’t warrant a violent response—not even if they've committed one of the unforgivable driving sins on the list below.
So, which of the following bad driving mistakes do you find the most annoying when you’re behind the wheel of your own car?
20 Changing Lanes In Slow-Moving Traffic
Queues of slow-moving traffic are frustrating for anyone, but the only sensible thing drivers can do is remain patient until the congestion clears before continuing on their way. Of course, there are always drivers whose behavior is far from sensible—drivers who continually change lanes while stuck in traffic, forever trying to gain the tiniest distance over everyone else in the traffic jam.
There's nothing more annoying to patient drivers than someone trying to force their car into the stream of traffic in front of them, these drivers knowing that that aggressive driver has probably only been stuck half the time that they have. What do such drivers have to do that's so important?
19 Blinding Light At Night
Driving at night comes with plenty of hazards without other drivers making life more difficult for you. When you’re driving on quiet country roads, having your full beam headlights on can help to light your way–but if you forget to dip your headlights when another car is coming in the opposite direction, you only end up blinding the other driver!
Everyone forgets to dip their headlights occasionally or, perhaps, doesn’t quite get to the switch in time, but there are plenty of drivers who just don’t bother dipping their headlights at all, dazzling other drivers on the road instead.
18 Leaving Gaps For Queue Jumpers
If drivers who change lanes in traffic jams are annoying, then many good drivers are equally annoyed by those fellow motorists who allow the queue jumpers to sneak into the traffic flow.
Leaving gaps for aggressive motorists to exploit probably seems polite to the drivers who are doing it, but it only serves to reward those who should actually be punished for their rude and obnoxious behavior. If all the good motorists worked together to stop pushy drivers from queue jumping, they would soon learn their lesson, but drivers who leave gaps in the queue are messing up the system!
17 Not Using Indicators
One of the classic complaints by good drivers about bad drivers is that they simply don't use their turn signals when they should. Either they don’t use them when they actually are making a turn or they leave them on after they've made the turn, confusing everyone else on the road.
A study in 2012 found that improper use of turn signals causes 2 million motor accidents every year–more than the number of collisions caused by distracted drivers. These improper turn-signal users include drivers who don’t use their turn signals properly half the time when making turns, changing lanes, or pulling over.
Humans are naturally curious creatures, but there's something about a car wreck that brings out the downright nosey in most of us. Who among us can claim that we haven’t ever slowed down to take a look at the scene of an accident as we passed?
However, there are some so-called rubberneckers who take this too far, slowing almost to a halt, creating additional traffic congestion when the police simply need to keep everyone moving so that emergency vehicles can get to the scene. Add in the fact that rubbernecking is downright ghoulish, and you can see why it makes the list of things good drivers despise.
15 Throwing Trash Out Of The Window
Good drivers are annoyed not only by bad driving but also by bad manners. One of the top complaints by drivers is about other motorists who insist on throwing trash and cigarette ends out of their car windows, leaving it to mount up on the roadside. It isn’t just a dirty habit; it can be dangerous if the trash ends up hitting the windscreen of the car following behind. You only have to look at the sides of the highways and interstates in your area to see how many people indulge in this particular vice–but at least it gives offenders something to do on their community sentences.
Tailgating–where motorists drive too closely to the car in front of them–isn't only a habit which annoys good drivers who are victims of it but is also a very unsafe way to drive and can easily cause accidents. Unsurprisingly, it's aggressive drivers who engage in tailgating, usually as a way to pressure the driver in front to speed up or get out of their way. Some see tailgating itself as a form of road rage, let alone the anger and frustration it causes in those who are tailgated. Research has even found that tailgating is a contributory factor in a third of all road accidents.
13 Tractor Hold-Ups
Getting stuck behind a tractor on a winding country road is annoying, but most farmers appreciate that they're holding up the traffic and frequently pull over to let drivers get past. What really annoys good drivers is when they're patiently waiting for a tractor to pull over and they find themselves waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Overtaking on country roads is tricky, which means that unless that farmer pulls over, you're going to be waiting for a long time to get past the slow-moving tractor. It’s not just bad manners for tractor drivers to hold up the traffic; farmers can be fined in many countries for causing tailbacks.
12 Cyclists Who Ignore Red Lights
There seems to be a long-running battle between some motorists and cyclists—and in some city centers, between cyclists and pedestrians, too. No sensible driver would ever dream of running a red light because they know that this would put other road users at risk, but many cyclists seem to treat red lights as optional, riding through junctions as and when it suits them. Although annoying to drivers, it's usually pedestrians who find themselves most at risk when cyclists run red lights. Other cycling habits that annoy drivers include speeding past stationary cars in traffic and leaning on vehicles while waiting at lights.
11 Lane Hogs
Motorists can be stopped for driving too fast, but they can also be stopped for driving too slow, and driving too slowly in the middle or the outside lanes of interstates is one of the most despicable things bad drivers can do. Not only does driving too slow in the fast lane cause traffic congestion, frustration, and tailgating, but other bad drivers can also be tempted into taking matters into their own hand. If the middle or the outside lane is blocked by a lane hog, then the only option left is to undertake, which is illegal in most places and dangerous everywhere!
10 Distracted Drivers
Drivers using cell phones have become one of the biggest menaces on our roads, with the latest figures suggesting that they're a contributing factor in one in four accidents on our roads. Good drivers quite reasonably find it more than annoying to see other motorists using their cellphones or doing other things that distract them from the very serious business of being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle–the only problem is that they can’t call the cops without using their cellphone behind the wheel themselves! The UK has some of the toughest penalties for drivers caught using their cellphones behind the wheel, with motorists facing fines of up to $250.
9 Ingratitude After Other Motorists Grant A Favor
Most drivers are kind and considerate when on the road, giving way to other motorists when they can and thanking those who return the favor. Too many drivers, however, respond inappropriately when fellow motorists have shown them some courtesy—refusing to raise a hand in thanks or acknowledgment. It may only be a small thing, but many drivers find that not being thanked after letting someone into a queue of traffic or through a narrow street puts them in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Good manners cost nothing, and raising a hand to say "thank you" takes just a few seconds of your time.
8 Out-Of-Turn Motorists
There's nothing more frustrating than being stuck behind a driver who's in the wrong lane while approaching a junction and who's trying to inch his way into the correct lane to make his turn. Well, perhaps the only more frustrating thing than that is to be the poor driver who’s stuck in the wrong lane in the first place! Often, these motorists end up in the wrong place through no fault of their own, including not knowing the road layout, but there are many times when local drivers get in the wrong lane either accidentally or even deliberately, and that's bad news for good drivers.
7 Motorists Who Ignore The Stop Sign
Some road signs can be tricky to figure out, but the stop sign pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin. When you see it, you stop, regardless of whether you think there's any traffic coming or not.
Not only are you breaking the law if you go straight through stop signs, but you could be putting yourself and other road users at risk. After all, stop signs aren’t just placed at T-junctions and crossroads for decoration. There's always a good reason for them to be there, even if that reason isn’t immediately obvious to other drivers.
6 Swerving In And Out Of Different Lanes
Even when the traffic on highways and interstates is moving freely, there are still drivers who insist on trying to get ahead of their fellow motorists. You see them during rush hour or other times when the traffic is busy but free-flowing, swerving in and out of different lanes–often at high speed–just to try and get a few car lengths advantage over other vehicles. Not only is undertaking illegal in many countries, but jumping quickly from one lane to another is also just downright dangerous. This aggressive driving is one of the main causes of road accidents, and 27% of traffic fatalities involve speeding.
5 Pulling Out On Blind Bends
Overtaking on single carriageway roads is all about judging the distance and the speed of approaching traffic, as well as calculating when it's safe to pull out and pass the vehicle that's slowing you down.
It can be one of the trickiest driving skills to perfect, and it seems that some drivers never really get the hang of it. It can be nerve-wracking to watch a bad driver overtaking, pulling out on blind bends or on the brow of a hill when they can’t possibly be able to see what's coming. And it's even scarier for the poor drivers coming in the other direction.
4 Drivers Who Think That A Light Changing From Green To Amber Is The Cue For Them To Speed Up
Good drivers are patient, but even that patience has a limit. There are enough delays on our city’s streets without bad drivers contributing further to the traffic congestion with their driving antics.
Every driver should know how traffic lights work—red means stop, amber means get ready to move, and green means go—not wait around for a few seconds while you have a think about life. Equally annoying are drivers who think that a light changing from green to amber is the cue for them to speed up and accelerate through the junction before the lights turn red.
3 Late Braking
Not only is late braking annoying, but it also relies on the reaction time of each and every driver behind you to prevent a collision. Everyone has to brake at the last minute sometimes, but too many bad drivers use late braking as a way to try and cut a few minutes from their commute–usually in combination with a bit of tailgating for good measure.
When traveling at 50 mph, it can take a vehicle 170 feet to come to a complete standstill–not easy to manage when the car in front of you has slammed on the brakes at the last minute to avoid an accident himself.
2 Drivers That Can’t Define Driving Skills, Come Rain Or Shine
And vehicles take even longer to come to a stop when the road surface is icy or wet, let alone the other hazards that the weather can inflict on drivers. Too many drivers think that they can still drive like normal even when the weather is bad, traveling at high speed in wet, icy, windy or foggy weather, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
Drivers need to slow down in bad weather and leave longer distances between them and the car in front, to avoid the increased risk of an accident–but too many don’t pay any attention to these common-sense rules.
1 Drivers Who Ignore Blue Lights
Even the most selfish drivers know to pull over when emergency vehicles are trying to make their way through traffic. Or so you would think. There are still some motorists who seem to think that blue lights and sirens don’t apply to them and that they can carry on their merry way, even if they end up blocking a fire truck, a police car, or an ambulance.
It isn’t always easy to find a safe place to pull over in busy traffic, but you certainly shouldn’t just carry on your journey as normal when an emergency vehicle is trying to get past you.