It is very easy to pick up bad driving habits, especially in the years following your driving test. These habits are easy to subconsciously adopt and in some cases are hard to kick. Here are 8 common driving habits present today.
This seems obvious right? With the constant stream of road safety advertisements and road signs informing the public of the dangers of exceeding the speed limit somehow, speeding remains one of the biggest problems in road safety. In fact, according to the European Commission of Road Safety, speeding is the key factor in around 30% of fatal road accidents in Europe. Exceeding the speed limit is very tempting and easy. Sometimes you may not even notice you’re doing it. It is crucial to be aware of your speed and of the speed limit of the area you are driving in. Not only does speeding increase your chances of being involved in an accident but it could also lead to fines, penalty points and even disqualification. It’s important to note that there is a different speed limit for car’s displaying learner plates. The speed limit for vehicles displaying L plates is 45 mph (72km/h), except goods vehicles, buses and coaches on a motorway
Failure to Indicate
It is important to remember that other road users cannot read minds. You will need to tell them what you’re going to do. Indicating and proper signalling are not optional, nor are they simply a common courtesy. Whether you’re turning a corner, coming off a roundabout, or changing lanes, indicating is a must for safe driving. It is also important to remember that indicating does not give you the right of way. It doesn’t become acceptable to simply change lanes whenever it suits you. Doing this is incredibly dangerous, especially on busy roads. Before and after signalling you must check your mirrors and wait for a suitable opportunity to make your manoeuvre. When making a turn, even on a quiet street, you must give the driver behind adequate notice before slowing down to a suitable speed.
It seems to have become a common phenomenon that people inexplicably have less patience when they’re behind the wheel of a car. Road rage or aggressive driving is a danger to not only yourself but to those around you as well.
As any driver will know, there are many variables on our roads that can trigger aggressive behaviours. These behaviours can manifest themselves in the forms of gesturing or shouting at other drivers, beeping the horn, or other more destructive actions. It is crucial for the safety of all road users than drivers remain calm as frustrated driver behaviour can lead to dangerous manoeuvres being taken on the roads.
Not Keeping your Distance
Driving too close behind the car in front is also known as tailgating. It is another dangerous habit a driver can pick up. Its most common occurrence is when a driver fails to comply with the two second rule (allow up to 10 times this in slippery conditions). This will allow for adequate time to react should the car ahead make any sudden movements.
Aggressive Accelerating and Braking
Both of these behaviours are not only bad for the car itself but could also potentially cause a collision. Accelerating aggressively can be closely linked to being an act of road rage. By moving off in such a fashion you are putting the driver in front at risk and under unnecessary pressure. If they were to accelerate too slowly or even stall their car you’d be too close and moving at speed which could result in a collision.
Aggressive braking is just as likely to cause an incident. It occurs when a driver is traveling quickly and brakes suddenly. Sudden stopping doesn’t give the car behind adequate time to stop, meaning it could hit the back of your car.
Not Respecting the Weather
It’s no secret that poor weather affects driving, however many of us are guilty of not adapting our habits to suit the weather. In Northern Ireland we are all too familiar with the rain. Along with factors including snow and ice this can greatly reduce traction on the roads resulting in loss of control and steering ability. In instances like this even braking can become hazardous. Drivers should reduce their speed greatly, allow for a greater distance between them and the car in front and even drive in lower gears allowing for more control. Poor weather usually brings with it reduced visibility. When presented with poor visibility your lights become an integral part of your car. For more information on using your lights correctly read The Highway Code.
Not Checking Blind Spots or Mirrors
There’s a reason your car has mirrors, for the safety of yourself and those around you. Before making any manoeuvre on the road checking your mirrors is crucial. By doing this you’ll be able to judge whether or not it’s safe to slow down or turn. It’s important to note that your mirrors don’t show you everything. There are certain areas that you won’t be able to see via your wing mirrors. These are called blind spots. Rather than just moving your eyes to look at the rear-view or side mirrors you will have to move your body and look out yourself. Doing so will help you spot cyclists or pedestrians coming up on your inside.
Ignoring Road Signs
Road signs are designed to keep us informed and safe. Understanding all road signs is a fundamental of driving. We often see drivers simply ignore them. This is a bad habit that is very dangerous for all road users. The main purpose of road signs is to inform you what’s ahead of you, if you are unfamiliar with some road signs why not brush up on them at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/highway-code-signs-and-markings.
At some stage we all develop bad driving habits. It is important for the safety of ourselves and those around us that we address them swiftly and accordingly. All drivers must respect the rules of the road and those using it. Full concentration while driving is of the utmost importance.
All Information correct as of 06/07/2017
This guidance is for general information purposes only and does not purport to provide legal advice or other professional advice. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance.
 European Commission of Road safety: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/topics/behaviour/speeding_en