It seems like almost every motorist you speak to claims to be a great driver, in fact some studies have shown that as many as 90% of us would attest to being one of the better drivers on our roads. Why is it, then, that even on the shortest of journeys it is easy to spot people making the simplest of mistakes – are the other 10% really just that bad?
Learner drivers often get the blame for being some of the worst amongst us, though really we think they do have a good excuse. So, to try help learners and older drivers alike to identify and avoid some of the biggest mistakes, we’re going to take a look through the top five bad driving habits, as decided by a quick poll in the office, and see how we can solve them.
- Not Using Your Indicators
Easily one of the more annoying issues on the road is a driver who doesn’t use their indicators. They’re right there – that little stick poking out from behind the steering-wheel – almost impossible to miss. And yet, possibly the number one mistake that drivers seem to make is not indicating, whether at junctions, when parking, at roundabouts or any other situation you care to mention.
Indicators are quite important really – needed to let other drivers know your intentions, and to give them a chance to slow down and react to your movements – and doubtless hundreds of accidents each year could be prevented by indicating. Learners especially, with their slightly more erratic and unpredictable driving, need to make good use of them – though we’re sure any instructor will give you a good shouting at if you don’t.
- Using Phones On The Move
We all, hopefully, know by now that using your phone whilst driving is illegal in the UK. Despite the ban, even a quick glance at passing drivers reveals a significant number of us are still using our phones at the wheel. Sadly, we’re not even talking about handsfree sets or bluetooth headsets here, but about the people who unashamedly drive around holding their phone in one hand, texting or calling.
The ban is in place to prevent drivers from getting distracted, and the number accidents on our roads has decreased markedly since its introduction, suggesting that there is a very good reason to not use your phone. If there is no one else in the car to answer the phone for you, just pull over (when safe) or simply wait until you arrive to use it – simple.
- Littering From Your Car
Whilst the prevalence of littering seems to vary from place to place, from urban areas to the countryside, it is annoying in whatever form it takes. From cigarettes flicked carelessly from speeding cars to full-blown mattress-in-a-layby flytipping, the environmental damage can be enormous, not to mention the visual impact on our roads and countryside.
Quite frankly, the only advice we can offer to help solve this problem is simply not to litter. Most cars will have small ashtrays built in for ash and small bits of food waste (though be careful combining the two) and local councils and businesses provide plenty of waste management sites. Please, do your fellow motorists a favour and cut out the waste.
- Driving Too Slowly
Few things can be guaranteed to annoy a driver more than someone going too slowly. Sure, no one wants to see other people speeding ridiculously or driving dangerously, but apparently even more annoying than life-threatening motoring is over-cautious crawling. Dip just 10mph below the speed limit and you are sure to earn the ire of pretty much everyone else on the road.
Unfortunately being a learner won’t save you from the barrage of abuse from impatient drivers, but at least in your own mind you can be content with having an excuse for holding up traffic. If you have recently passed your test but still don’t feel all that confident, attaching P-plates to your car will let other drivers know to give you a break (though we can’t guarantee that everyone will be so understanding…)
Our advice – feel free to drive as cautiously and slowly as necessary. Just be aware that driving too slowly can be illegal, and also pretty dangerous depending on what road you’re on.
It feels a little patronising to say, but if it’s dark, foggy, heavily raining or any situation that means your visibility isn’t what it should be – turn your lights on.
Perhaps people just forget, maybe they’re trying to save electricity, or maybe they simply have far superior eyesight to the rest of us – but driving without your lights on is very dangerous. Now, we’re not saying that you should go the other way and be dazzling us all with full-beam lights every day of the year, but undoubtedly many avoidable accidents are caused by poor visibility.
Few things are more terrifying than a grey car hurtling towards you at 60mph out of the mist, or an almost invisible black car speeding up behind you in the night. Most learners will have limited experience driving in the dark, so are bound to forget their lights a couple of times, but it is illegal to not use them. Not using lights can land you with hefty fines – so best remember, even if it means leaving a note in the car to remind you.
Hopefully any learners out there can spot these habits and stamp them out quickly, before they take to the roads solo. For any of you experienced drivers, if you recognise these bad habits from your own driving, you know what to do!
For more information on insurance for leaner drivers, visit https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/extras/learner-driver/ or call 0800 369 8590.