14 July 2016

What’s your biggest driving pet hate?

Driving can often be really enjoyable, moseying along fun roads surrounded by lovely scenery, with the sun’s warm rays overhead and a lovely breeze through the open window. Sometimes, though, driving can be utterly miserable and frustrating, perhaps because of bad weather, delays or roadworks. At other times, however, it’s fellow road users who are to blame. My driving pet hates are revealed here. The question is, what kind of behaviour really gets you all hot and bothered?

10 – People who share their music with everyone around them

Don’t get me wrong, I love music, but I appreciate that not everyone shares the same tastes, so it gets my goat when drivers crank their music up so loud that the entire neighbourhood can not only hear it but also feel it. This annoyance is a whole lot worse in nice weather, when drivers wind their windows down or fold their convertibles’ roofs flat.

9 – Drivers who don’t switch their lights on

Vehicles’ lights obviously need switching on when it’s dark but they should really be used when it’s raining or very overcast, too, allowing them to be seen more easily by other road users. It’s typical on medium-length journeys to encounter at least one driver who seems oblivious to the fact that it’s hard to see them because their vehicle’s lights aren’t switched on. This problem hasn’t been helped by cars since 2012 being fitted with ‘daytime running lights’, often in the form of fancy LEDs, which make drivers assume the rear lights are illuminated too.

Hard to see

8 – Pedestrians who treat roads like pavements

Roads are for vehicles, pavements are for people, but some really don’t see it that way, sauntering out onto a busy A-road with the kind of body language that gives the impression that they expect vehicles to stop for them. What’s worse is when such people give a hateful look at cars that safely continue their journey.

7 – Drivers who don’t indicate

I see this so often, in various situations, from cars on the motorway that change lane without warning, causing other cars to brake or change lane themselves at short notice, to vehicles in urban areas that turn off at a junction suddenly. The failure to indicate really bothers me when I’m trying to enter a roundabout, though, when it looks like it’s inappropriate to pull out but then the approaching car turns off, leaving cars behind me a little annoyed that I hesitated.

6 – Blatant use of mobile phones whilst driving

For starters, it’s against the law to use a mobile phone at the wheel and drivers shouldn’t even squeeze in a cheeky check of their text messages and social media updates whilst stopped at red lights. So many motorists, though, are still spotted holding their phones to their ears in such an obvious way like they’re proud of it. It’s sometimes hard enough to concentrate on a conversation held over handsfree Bluetooth, so this bad habit that plenty of people can’t seem to shift is nothing but highly dangerous.

on phone

5 – Drivers who don’t let people join their traffic queue

Okay, good driving does admittedly involve planning ahead and moving into the correct lane in ample time, but even the best drivers make mistakes from time to time and need to nudge into a lane of traffic to the left or right. Unless it’s actually dangerous to do so, other drivers should really let people into their lane, as it helps keep all lanes of traffic moving. Some drivers still seem insistent on proving a point by not letting anyone in, though.

4 – Needless overtaking

I appreciate that some people are in a justified hurry sometimes and they’re entitled to overtake at any time as long as it’s safe to do so, but it’s so typical these days to see dangerous overtaking moves that don’t actually gain much time at all, the driver getting stuck at a red light almost immediately. It reminds me of the children’s story ‘The tortoise and the hare’ in which the arrogant hare loses to the cool and collected tortoise.

3 – People who naughtily park in special bays

I’m sure you’ve seen this before, too, where someone who is obviously not disabled or doesn’t have children swings their car into a specially-reserved parking space like they own the place, without batting an eyelid. I’ve observed this cheeky and selfish behaviour at supermarkets, sports centre car parks and other public places and it seems to boil down to laziness.


2 – Vehicles sticking their noses out at junctions

I know modern life’s really busy and we want to get to places as quickly as possible, but it really winds me up when vehicles try their luck at T-junctions and end up more or less blocking half of the road, assuming that someone will let them out as a priority. After all, if I’m driving along a main road, I’ve got the right of way, not the car or van driver nudging their vehicle into oncoming traffic, causing me to either slow down or to drive over the white centrelines to avoid hitting them.


1 – Single-speed drivers

This has got to be the most annoying habit a lot of drivers these days are guilty of. Fair enough, it can be frustrating having to trundle along in endless 30mph areas and especially in the growing number of 20mph zones introduced by councils. At the end of the day, though, they’re in place for safety reasons. Drivers who tailgate in urban areas are frustrating enough as it is, but what really gets me is when their apparent impatience doesn’t result in them speeding up when a national speed limit sign or a motorway slip-road comes along. They seem to only be able to drive at a single speed of 40mph wherever they are, bullying sensible drivers in town and then holding people up on faster roads.

Of course, we should all try to stay calm when we encounter anyone demonstrating one or more of these frustrating driving habits, as reacting aggressively isn’t cool. Find us on Twitter or Facebook and tell us which bad habits on the road really get on your wick and why.

Oliver Hammond

Written by Oliver Hammond

Oliver is an established freelance motoring writer, published journalist and automotive copywriter based in Manchester. He regularly reviews cars and covers events and launches as editor of petroleumvitae.com and his articles appear in various magazines each month. No relation to Richard from Top Gear, he’s got a weakness for luxo-barges, proper 4x4s and oddball cars.