The five worst driving habits in the UK

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

Bad Driving Habit #2:  Failing to Give Way to Pedestrians

The Car Expert's Bad Driving Habit #2: Not giving way to pedestriansIt amazes me that so few drivers in the UK respect the right of way for pedestrians crossing roads at intersections. The Highway Code states that cars must give way to pedestrians who have already started to cross a road. This applies to cars turning both left and right into a junction. Yet it is rare to see cars stopping for pedestrians, especially cars turning right at an intersection.  As a car driver, it delays your journey by about 3 seconds to slow or stop for a pedestrian. There is no excuse for not giving way to pedestrians at all times, even when not strictly required to by law – especially if it’s cold and raining outside while you’re snug and warm in your car. The same applies to cars blocking pedestrian crossings when stopped in traffic – there’s just no need, and it forces pedestrians out of the crossing zone into potential danger.

Bad Driving Habit #1:  Failing to Keep Left Unless Overtaking

The Car Expert's Worst Driving Habit: Failing to keep left unless overtakingThis is probably the most annoying of all bad driving habits on the road. Widespread failure to keep left effectively turns many three-lane motorways into two-lane roads, slowing vast volumes of traffic and increasing accident risk for large numbers of cars.

The UK Highway Code states that drivers should “always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past.”

It’s not complicated. Drive in the left-hand lane, move out to overtake, move back to the left-hand lane. Simples.

Driving in the middle or right-hand lane (either deliberately or through inattention) backs up traffic and contributes to tailgating. Whilst tailgating is reckless and dangerous behaviour, slow drivers in the outside lane contribute to the problem by forcing cars behind to slow down. It also contributes to undertaking, which is equally dangerous.

So, what are your thoughts? Would you admit to having any of these driving habits? What is the most annoying thing you see happening every day on UK roads? Please leave your thoughts below.

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!

  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.

  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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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!!

  16. 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……..

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