Top 7 bad driving habits, and how to correct them
When we talk about bad driving habits, we don’t mean slurping your drink noisily. Although that’s a bit gross, it probably won’t have too much effect on your driving. Not bothering to indicate, on the other hand, could cause issues for other road users.
These are some of the most common bad driving habits, and what you can do about them.
Bad habit #1: Tailgating
Whenever organisations conduct polls of the most annoying driving behaviours, tailgating often comes out on top. Having someone drive too close behind you is sure to get your hackles up.
The thing with tailgating though is that it’s not just annoying – it’s dangerous too. If the car in front has to brake suddenly, the risk of the car behind smashing into the back of them is high.
How to zap this: To avoid being a tailgater yourself, always keep a comfortable distance from the vehicle in front. To help judge this while in traffic, use the 2-second rule.
Bad habit #2: Using a mobile
We’re constantly connected to our devices, so this can be a hard habit to break. But handling a mobile phone while driving is against the law. Despite this, lots of people still do it, so it may seem normalised.
How to zap this: Lots of modern cars come with tech that helps make your phone hands-free.
If you’ve got an older car, then you might want to use your phone for sat nav (or, indeed, for the Driverly app). It’s perfectly legal to attach your phone to the dash in such a way as it’s not obscuring your view.
Just make sure that you’ve got everything running before you actually set off.
To make sure you’re not touching the phone while driving, make the most of your OS voice assistant. Or take a friend along, so they can do the tapping for you.
Ace your driving score: Stay off your mobile
While using the Driverly app, handling your mobile may well negatively affect your driving score. To boost your driving score, keep your paws off!
Bad habit #3: Not looking properly at junctions
When pulling up to a junction, it’s always important to take a good look. When taking a quick glance, it can be easy to miss vulnerable road users, such as cyclists.
In fact, the number one reason learners fail their driving tests year-in, year-out is not making proper observations at junctions. And it’s also the reason behind almost 38% of road accidents in Great Britain(1).
How to zap this: You should always take a good look both ways before pulling out. Even if you’re turning left, you should still take a good look to the left before pulling out, in case traffic has come to a standstill, for example. Giving way to traffic coming from the right isn’t enough.
If it’s a closed junction – in other words, a junction where it’s difficult to get a wide range of vision – lean forward to get a better line of sight. It’s also acceptable to peep and creep.
Bad habit #4: Speeding
It’s likely that, when you get a lift from friends or family members, they may break the speed limit now and again. Or all the time. But that doesn’t mean you should.
Driving fast doesn’t have as many benefits as you might think. The main reason is that drivers may think it gets them to their destination quicker. But especially while driving in urban areas, think about how someone may be going fast, but then you catch them up at the next set of lights.
How to zap this: Planning your journey ahead of time means you’re less likely to end up in a rush. Take your time, and enjoy your drive!
Also, if you’re using the Driverly app, you’ll score more points for driving at a speed which is appropriate to the road, and sticking to the speed limit. Check out this guide to knowing your speed limits to find out more.
Bad habit #5: Middle-lane hogging
Hogging the middle lane on the motorway is inconsiderate to other motorists, and messes up the flow of traffic. It can be dangerous too, as other drivers may be tempted to go into the overtaking lane when it’s unsafe to do so, or undertake on the inside.
It’s been known for middle-lane hoggers to justify this, as they have more room to manoeuvre – they have the option of going left or right. But the problem is that it takes away other motorists’ options.
Rule 264 of The Highway Code says “Keep in the left lane unless overtaking.” And middle middle-lane hogging has also been an offence since 2013. If you’re caught by the police, you could get a £100 on-the-spot fine for careless driving, and 3 points on your licence.
How to zap this: Quite simply, only move into lanes on the right if you’re overtaking something. And while it’s good to do this in plenty of time, it doesn’t mean while they’re a dot on the horizon.
Find out more about driving safely on the motorway here.
Bad habit #6: Riding the clutch
If you don’t fully disengage the clutch – pull your foot right up to you and me – it’ll gradually damage the pedal. This one’s not really dangerous for other road users, but it will contribute to wear and tear of your own car. And replacing a clutch ain’t cheap.
How to zap this: The best way to ensure the clutch pedal’s coming all the way up is to take your foot right off it. Unless you’re changing gear, keep your left foot on the footrest, or just in the footwell. To begin with this may seem like you’re giving up control, but it’ll become natural soon enough.
Bad habit #7: Not indicating
We said it at the beginning, and now we’ve come full circle… It’s not a legal requirement to indicate, but it can be annoying – and sometimes dangerous – for other road users if you don’t.
This one’s all about respect for your fellows. Even if there doesn’t seem to be any traffic, pedestrians may make choices depending on whether you’re indicating or not. This is especially true if you’re pulling into a car park or petrol station, for instance, and somebody wants to cross.
How to zap this: It doesn’t take any time to indicate, in the sense that it’s not adding to your journey. So why not do it?
The best way not to fall out of the habit of indicating is to do it all the time, even if there’s no other traffic. If you indicate habitually, you don’t really have to think about it. It should come as naturally as turning the wheel.
Find out more about becoming a safer driver here.