The Most Offensive Driving Habits We're All Guilty Of
You've heard of defensive driving. It's the golden rule of operating a vehicle: share the road with others as you'd want them to share it with you. Keeping a safe distance from other cars, using turn signals, scanning the road -- these are all behaviors we're supposed to practice religiously when we're behind the wheel.
But more often not, we fail miserably. Instead of defensive driving, we commit the cardinal sin of getting behind the wheel: offensive driving. It's the reckless, aggressive driving behavior that causes major accidents for motorists and major headaches for insurance companies.
According to a Statista survey of the most irksome driving behaviors, the top three answers were texting, tailgating, and multi-tasking. But there are so many bad driving habits that also drive us mad. Here are the types of behaviors most likely to offend, annoy, and tempt you to flip the bird.*
*Please note that we advise against using the middle finger. It's also considered an offensive driving behavior.
They "forget" to turn on their signal, and they cut you off when they turn abruptly into your lane. Then they pretend it never happened -- or worse, they throw you a dirty look or rude gesture to blame you for not letting them in.
Are they about to jump you, or do they just enjoy tempting fate? Tailgaters make everyone nervous, and they can cause a very serious accident if you have to make a sudden stop.
The Horn Blasters
Annoying. So, so annoying. Need we say more?
The Lane Blockers
They turned into another lane at the last minute, and now they're taking up both lanes and blocking traffic for everyone. It's really annoying at an intersection; it's downright dangerous on the freeway.
The Erratic Lane-Chargers
These are typically the guys who drive speedy little sports cars. They like to maximize their speed at all times, even if that means weaving across four lanes (and cutting you off!) in 0.7 seconds.
The Speed Demons
These guys have a need for speed (and possibly even a death wish). They're the ones who put the pedal to the metal, and then slow down two seconds later at the next stop sign. Honestly, who are they trying to impress -- the Jones's next door?
These speed demons are typically also the erratic lane chargers (see above) who won't let anyone get in their way. But hey, the joke's on them when traffic piles up, or the light turns red, and you end up in the lane right next to them.
The Road Ragers
Honk your horn at them, and they might just snap. Maybe they'll throw you the middle finger; maybe they'll brake suddenly. After all, you're technically at fault if you rear-end this irate driver.
Watching a road rager is like watching a silent film of some poor soul having a total meltdown. As annoying as these drivers are, you can at least take solace knowing your day wasn't half as miserable as theirs.
The Snail Mobile
They're consulting Google maps, talking to their kids in the backseat, reading every street sign with binoculars, or just stopping to smell the roses. Whatever the reason this driver is moving slower than your grandpa can walk, they're bringing everyone down with them. Go ahead and give them a little honk. If you're the one causing the slowdown, pull to the side of the road. Your fellow drivers will thank you.
The Spot Swipers
You found a spot, you put on your blinker, and you waited. You followed Parking Etiquette 101, but some jerk jets around the corner and steals your coveted spot. Let them take it. Maybe your parking space forfeiture will earn you good karma in the shopping mall lines.
The Slow Starters
That green light means GO. Why aren't they revving up their engines?
That freeway onramp means speed up, not slow down. Why are they still going 20 mph, even when they're about to merge into your lane?
These Slow Starters are so sluggish, even your grandma would have a fit of road rage.
Then there are the impatient jerks that honk when the light's been green for 0.43 seconds. They also assume they can break all traffic rules because their license plate says NEW YORK. Thanks to the Showoffs, you're convinced that some people actually like being offensive.
You're coasting, and suddenly your spirits drop at the sea of red lights ahead of you. Could it be a major accident? Some obstruction in the road? Nope. It's just a car pulled over by a cop. Yet for some reason you can't fathom, every driver on the road decided this accident was worth slowing down for. Oh well. You watch the Kardashians sometimes; even you have to admit you like reveling in other people's tragedies.
The Makeup Artists
These drivers figure that getting ready for work is way more efficient behind the wheel than at home. If they don't cause an accident, they'll at least show up to work looking like a clown.
The Clueless Drivers
Someone who waves for you to go, even when they have the right of way. Drivers that cut you off because they didn't see you. People that wouldn't bat an eye nudging your bumper just to nab that parallel parking spot. You can't do much about these guys; just don't blow your lid when you see one.
The Basket Cases
They just got dumped, and now they're taking a drive to clear their head. If these emotional trainwrecks lose sight of the road, they also risk getting into a car wreck. When you're behind the wheel, steer clear of anyone who looks like they're distracted by anything other than driving.
The Distracted Drivers
Speaking of distracted driving, let's talk about the text-happy drivers whose hands are permanently glued to their phones. Teens and parents beware: Texting while driving is the biggest cause of accidents among teenagers. Sure, there's been a drop in the number of people who actually talk on a cell phone while driving. But the incidence of smartphone use is on the rise. Almost two-thirds of drivers say they're likely to pull out their smartphones when they're stopped at a red light; 30% say they do it while their foot's on the gas. (And those are the ones who admitted it).
Needless to say, distracted driving is one of the biggest threats on the road.
Protect Yourself From Unsafe Driving
Whether you're one of these annoying drivers, or you've seen them on the road, you know that people commit bad driving habits happen all the time. Not only are they irritating and dangerous, they're also the types of risky behavior that inflate your car insurance rates.
Auto insurance companies aren't tracking everything you do in your car, but every accident and ticket you get can raise your premium. No matter how good a driver you are, you can always pick up more scrupulous driving habits. Try practicing less offensive driving, and more defensive driving. In case an accident does happen, make sure you have the right insurance policy. You'll protect your car, your savings, and even your life.