Top 10 Bad Driving Habits

bad driving habits
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There are a lot of bad drivers on the road. You have to wonder how some of them got their driver’s licenses. Also, when did driver’s ed stop serving as a mandatory rite of passage?

It seems like you can’t hit the road without watching someone almost cause an accident. And the worst part is it’s a compounding effect – drivers distracted by the bad drivers are more likely to cause even more accidents themselves.

The “big secret” to good driving skills is just paying attention. Keep your eyes on the road and on other drivers. Remember that there are people with goals and their own sense of awareness in all the other cars. They’re not just obstacles you have to navigate around, they’re neighbors you have to share the road with. Be thoughtful while driving. Be kind. And most importantly, try to kick these 10 bad driving habits before you accidentally cause a car accident.

1. Not Using the Turn Signal Switch

When someone is driving down the road and suddenly realizes he or she needs to switch lanes before the next exit, a good idea is to use the turn signal switch. This indicates to the cars behind that driver that he or she will be changing lanes. A bad idea is to nosedive into the next lane, surprising drivers by suddenly forcing a vehicle into a spot it wasn’t prepared to leave room for. Drivers like these pose a serious risk to everyone else on the road. It’s common for drivers to claim they don’t use their turn signals because fellow drivers will move forward to cut them off instead of yielding. However, that’s no excuse for recklessly switching lanes without warning.

2. Failing To Yield To Other Drivers

There are two sides to every story, and the other side of the turn signal switch debate is the yield debate. It’s true – bad drivers do tend to rush forward to cut others off instead of yielding to them. That slows the flow of traffic because that car waiting to turn doesn’t disappear because someone managed to zoom in front of them. Now that driver trying to merge is waiting, and holding traffic up, in order to get into lane he or she needs to be in. The easiest way to keep traffic flowing is to yield to someone who indicates that they need to enter.

3. Yielding to Literally Every Driver

Although you should yield to the person trying to enter, you shouldn’t necessarily yield to everyone. Coming to a complete stop in order to let four cars by might seem like a magnanimous action. In reality, you’ve become a road block for all the drivers behind you. If traffic is moving on the road you’re on, you shouldn’t bring it to a complete stop for an extended period of time. A stopped car on a busy road is a car accident waiting to happen. Stop long enough to allow one car through, then keep moving. The people behind you should then take turns with the other cars.

4. Hogging the Left Lane

In almost every state, the left lane is for passing and faster traffic. That means slower drivers and drivers who aren’t passing someone should move to the right lane. However, it’s very common to see bad drivers chilling in the left lane without a care in the world. The rules of the road dictate that a driver should yield to faster drivers approaching behind him or her. Rules may also specify that a driver should get back into the right lane as soon as he or she is done passing. Either way, no one should be cruising in the left lane for the whole ride.

5. Texting and Driving

Everyone thinks they’re great at multi-tasking. Which means that everyone – absolutely everyone – pulls their phone out in traffic, thinking they have time between red lights to check their Facebook. Virtually no one is good at texting and driving. Everyone around the phone-user will notice immediately. That driver will suddenly slow down, take several seconds to respond to traffic moving and inch forward rather than drive normally. That same driver will fail to notice someone switching lanes or someone coming to a sudden stop, and then there will be an accident. Texting and driving is tempting, but not worth it.

6. Tailgating a Car

The rules of the road dictate that drivers leave a three-second gap between themselves and the cars in front of them. That means it should take three seconds for a driver to pass the same milestone the driver in front of him or her passed. Driving too closely to another car runs the risk of causing a serious car accident – or at least an ugly fender bender. Additionally, rear-end crashes are virtually always found to be the fault of the driver in the rear. There is little to no excuse for tailgating, and it never ends well for the tailgater.

7. Brake Checking a Car

Although no one likes a tailgater, brake checking a car is the wrong response. The correct response to an unsafe driving situation is not to create another unsafe situation. Plus, brake checking can be classified as reckless driving. If an officer sees someone brake checking, that officer can issue a ticket. Brake checking strongly increases the risk of a car accident. Even if someone is annoyed at a tailgater, the correct response is not to further risk life and limb. Do the smart thing – get out of the tailgater’s way.

8. Coasting Through Stop Signs

Have you ever heard the phrase, “No cop, no stop?” It’s bad advice, don’t follow it. Drivers should always come to a complete stop at every stop sign, even the ones in neighborhoods that they drive past every day. Coasting through stop signs, particularly in quiet neighborhoods, is one of the most common bad driving habits. Yes, they can be inconvenient, but drivers never know when someone will come the other way. Another thing drivers shouldn’t do is treat stop signs like red lights. Every car is supposed to stop at the stop sign. Stopping behind the car stopped at the stop sign does not count as stopping at the stop sign. Everyone has to stop – they can’t just follow the driver in front of them.

9. Inching Forward at Stops

Another annoying habit often seen on the road are bad drivers who can’t gauge distance. That’s the drivers that stops 30 feet behind the car in front of them at a red light, then slowly inch forward as they realize they have more space. Braking too hard and too suddenly isn’t just annoying – it can cause a car accident. However, it is also really annoying to drivers behind the incher who are wondering why traffic is continuously moving slowly at a red light.

10. Drifting Between Lanes

One of the all-important rules of the road learned in drivers ed: stay in your lane. It’s important for drivers to pay attention to the lane division on roads at all times. It’s common for drivers to become distracted and begin drifting into the next lane over as they dig through purses or glove compartments. This is a great way to cause a car accident and a terrible way to drive. Drivers should keep both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road and all four tires in their lane.