Whether you drive for a living, just have a car to help get you from A to B, or have been a motorist for a while, you’ll no doubt have plenty of personal driving bugbears.
Don’t get us wrong, there are loads of civil drivers on Britain’s roads. But we can’t pretend that there isn’t also a percentage of unruly types who seem to have a lack of regard for anyone outside of their own little metal cage on wheels. Fleet and HGV drivers, in particular, spend more time than most on the road and will have a list as long as their arm about what gets their backs.
In this post, however, we’ve done our best to identify five of the worst driver behaviours that drive us all around the bend.
1. Failing to thank drivers when they’ve let you out at a junction or into their lane.
Ok, we accept this might seem relatively petty, but as Manchester comic Jason Manford hilariously explains here, the lack of a ‘thank you wave’ is the root cause of many a road rage incident. And it’s not very hard, is it? All you have to do is lift a hand momentarily from the steering wheel to the kind soul who let you. That’s it. Us Brits like to think of ourselves as being a rather polite bunch, so don't let the side down and ensure you say 'cheers' when someone offers this act of humanity.
2.Changing lanes when traffic is already crawling.
It’s bad enough being stuck in traffic that’s nose-to-tail as it is, but there’s always that one person who thinks there’s some sort of advantage to be gleaned from weaving between lanes. Worse still, there are people who spot an infinitesimally small gap in the slightly faster-moving lane and pull out into it without warning - forcing you to slam your brakes on!
It's a bit of a nightmare. Which brings us neatly on to…
3. Failing to indicate in a timely manner, or just not indicating at all.
When we were learning to drive (many moons ago) our instructors would bark at us for not indicating. Remember mirror, signal, and manoeuvre? It's a fundamental part of driving because it lets others around you know what exactly you're planning to do! There are those, however, who appear to have such unshakeable conference in their driving abilities they can simply dispense with the first two steps. This worst place this type of behaviour manifests is on roundabouts when drivers either forget or don’t bother to let their counterparts know which of the various exits available they plan to take. *shakes fist*
4. Hogging the middle lane.
There are some motorists who, for one reason or another, just don’t seem to be cut out for motorway driving. We apologise for being so blunt, but it's amazing that it still needs to be said that the middle lane is for overtaking – not for people to tootle along at 50mph...
How many times have you been enjoying that nice drive home from work, ticking along at the speed limit listening to that really good Scissors Sisters album from 2005 only to have some impatient fellow sitting about a yard away from your bumper and flashing their lights franticly? We'd like to pretend this doesn't happen often, but it's worryingly common.
According to a 2014 survey carried out by road safety charity Brake, an alarmingly high 57 per cent of motorists questioned admitted to engaging in dangerous tailgating, leaving a gap of less than two seconds between themselves and the vehicle in front. Yes, of course it can be frustrating when drivers dawdle and hold everyone else up. But those who engage in tailgating to try to pressure them either to speed up or get out of the way put themselves and other road users at entirely unnecessary risk of a serious accident.
We realise that there are times when you simply can’t legislate for the actions of other road users. But fleet operators can help to encourage better driving habits among their own workforce, and more and more firms are adopting telematics with this in mind. Telematics systems provide fleet managers with unprecedented insights into the way their drivers conduct themselves behind the wheel, flagging up a range of risky and undesirable behaviours – including excessive speeding, tailgating and harsh braking. This GPS telematics data enables fleet managers to devise training and development programmes tailored to the needs of individual drivers, and helping them to cut out risky behaviours on the road.