The five worst driving habits in the UK

Driving
The Car Expert's 5 Worst Driving Habits in the UK

Do you have any bad driving habits?  Most people will tell you that they are good drivers. In fact, some sources suggest that up to 90% of drivers think they are a ‘good’ driver. Another study found that 93% of Americans thought they would rank in the top 50% for driving skill. So why do I always seem to be sharing the road with the rubbish 7-10%?

Regardless of how you imagine your own driving ability, it is very easy to spot bad driving habits in others. Having spent countless hours sitting alongside complete strangers while they test drive cars, here are The Car Expert’s ‘Five Worst Driving Habits’. This is not about blatant law-breaking activity (drink driving, texting while driving, barrelling through a school zone at 150mph, etc.), but rather the everyday driving habits people seem to develop, either consciously or unconsciously. Although they may seem harmless, most of them do break the law at some point, and can lead to a dangerous situation on the road.

Bad Driving Habit #5: Speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down

Bad Driving Habits #5: Speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down - The Car ExpertIf you use cruise control when you drive, this habit is very easy to spot in others. How many times have you passed someone on a motorway, only to have them come flying past you again a few minutes later?

This bad driving habit is also easily found in taxi drivers around the world. For some reason, every minicab driver seems to think that driving consists of slamming his accelerator flat to the floor, only ever taking his foot off to jam it on the brakes. As well as dramatically increasing fuel consumption and brake wear, it can be dangerous if you are leaving no margin for error by having to always brake heavily at the last minute. And let’s not even get started on the generally woeful driving habits and standards of minicab drivers…

Next page: People who think they are more important than you

Stuart Masson

Stuart is the Editor of The Car Expert, which he founded in 2011, and our new sister site The Van Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the car industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

16 Comments

  1. Sad to say I found myself nodding along to every one of these points! We can all have a laugh and vent our rage at them on here but in truth some of them are incredibly dangerous, and its no surprise that insurance claims are going up and up cause of things like this!

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  2. People who pull out into traffic when there isn’t a gap for them really annoy me. I do whatever I can to avoid letting them in, and use my headlights and horn liberally if they do pull in front of me.

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  3. I’m surprised that you didn’t include tailgating. It’s far more dangerous than most of the things you have listed here, and really should be at number 1.

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    • Stuart Masson

      You’re absolutely right in that tailgating is very dangerous. However, it is also illegal at all times, which most of these habits are not. The purpose wasn’t to judge which illegal driving activities are the worst (since you easily could have a list of: texting/shaving/applying makeup, drink-driving, tailgating, failing to indicate and excessive speeding). The activities on this list are usually not illegal as such, although they can be at certain times (eg – failing to keep left when on a motorway or there is a specific sign), but they show a lack of courtesy or general driving ability. stuart.

  4. Failing to indicate is my biggest complaint. And it’s not just BMWs but lots of drivers, especially van drivers.

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  5. The minicab issue is getting out of hand in London, and Addison Lee drivers are the worst. Can’t believe that people still use that company, their a mob of crooks.

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  6. Great work, now can you send a copy to every police station around the country so they can start policing this stuff. The Keep Left thing is particularly true, it really gets my goat

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  7. EuropCam
    The proliferation of traffic in the United Kingdom over the past few years has significantly increased the risk of car accidents. When accidents occur, determining the person at fault is often hard to prove, as dishonest people easily take advantage of this kind of situation. A video recorder will give you unquestionable proof in order to attest your innocence in accident cases involving material damage and/or manslaughter accusations.

    Reply
  8. This is a very well written article. As a busy driving instructor I see this sort of thing every day. One thing that annoys me is drivers refusing to signal to leave a roundabout. Inexperienced drivers need all the help they can get when judging a safe gap to enter a roundabout and go bonkers when people don’t signal to leave. They can’t trust whether to proceed or nor unless other drivers make their intentions clear. We all get enraged at tiny things. My favourite is people who do not put their handbrake on at red lights and continue to creep forward then stop, creep then stop, creep again until they are over the line and blocking the pedestrian crossing. JUST SIT AND WAIT FOR GREEN LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!!. There… that feels better.

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  9. Couldn’t agree more! Great little list of annoying habits. My own gripe is failing to indicate – anywhere. On roundabouts it’s especially dangerous. If my students can’t trust where people are going they tend to freeze like rabbits. Dangerous.

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  10. Bryan Greenall

    Great post of which I have shared through my social media links.
    All of these are very annoying especially when you are a driving instructor like me.
    An extra one which you could add would be the new trend of lack of indication of your intention to change direction, this seems to be a disease which is growing out of proportion in these modern driving times. In my daily work teaching we see this constantly and surely cannot be such a difficult think to do to just click on that stalk next to the steering wheel to let others know where you intend to travel.
    It seems people nowadays all drive around with very sore and painful fingers and it is too painful to touch that stalk lol.

    Great post on poor driving habits.

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  11. I couldn't agree more with these! One thing that we teach at Direct Driving Online is how to avoid these bad habits.

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  12. Not indicating on roundabouts causes more tailbacks. I teach pupils to drive and they’re often stuck trying to get onto a roundabout because of people not indicating

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  13. I too agree with all the points listed above. Cars not using the left lane is a serious issue. Either the drivers do not care about any other road user or they have no idea about basic rules of the road. I am often tempted to ‘undertake’ in these situations but understand the legal implications of this. I come across this a lot when a bus lane is outwith it’s ‘operating times’ yet other drivers fail to use this lane, often compounded by the fact that they will often sit at 30mph when the road has a 40 mph speed limit. There should be stiff punishment for driving offences like this. It encourages road rage and dangerous driving. With talk of drivers being punished for exceeding the speed limit by 1 mph, I think it’s high time that police for forces got serious about other driving behaviours.

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  14. Is this just laziness? Ignorance? Lack of education? I’ve seen driving instructors (people driving learner cars without learners) committing some of the things on the list; my gf’s siblings’ driving instructor even taught them they didn’t need to indicate when moving out to pass around parked cars! Who teaches the driving instructors to teach? I drive a lot with work and don’t go a day where I don’t see simple failures. Roundabouts are my pet peeves – people going in the right hand lane of 2 lanes to go straight across (and not indicating)! Government intervention required? Ban stupid / lazy people from driving? Argh! Rant over!!

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  15. I’m amazed that ‘UNDER-taking’ is mentioned only once – and even then it’s mentioned as an option to DO rather than NOT do.
    On many occasions, I’ve felt a tad guilty for doing 75-80 (ie – SPEEDING) in the middle lane as I approach a vehicle in the near-side lane, to over-take it. Then, despite the outside lane(s) being CLEAR, I’m UNDER-taken by a car that then pulls out between me and the vehicle I’m approaching to over-take.

    Surely, under-taking is EXTREMELY bad practice – not sure of the legality – & bikers often use under-taking as part of their ‘darning-needle’ lane-swapping driving technique, BUT other drivers are to “THINK BIKE”.
    I say “BIKE – THINK!”.
    There’s so much arrogant, inconsiderate & generally bad driving now……..

    Reply

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