Bad driver behaviours are things that other drivers do that annoy you, or worse, distract from your own driving!
Here are some bad driver behaviours that can be dangerous to anyone on the road.
Make sure you don’t commit any of these yourself!
Tailgating is when a vehicle is driven too closely behind another car. This may occur when a driver follows too closely behind you on the road. It’s annoying to the car being tailgated and can be dangerous for all vehicles.
Tailgating can be dangerous because it does not allow for adequate braking distance between the two vehicles. It can also make the car being tailgated anxious and, thus, more prone to mistakes. Tailgating is an offence in some states and territories.
There are different speed limits on different roads, in different areas and at different times of the day throughout Australia. Travelling at a speed greater than the allocated signage, or the lawful default speed limit if no signage is present, puts everyone on the road at risk. Speed is the number one cause of driving accidents and road deaths in Australia.
Drivers who speed have less time to react to changes in road conditions and traffic. They have a reduced ability to stop quickly enough to avoid other vehicles, pedestrians or hazards on the road.
Using a phone while driving
Bad drivers who use their mobile phones while driving are putting themselves and everyone around them at risk. Mobile phones are highly distracting. Even a few seconds’ lapse in concentration can result in a serious, if not fatal traffic incident.
Failing to indicate
Failing to indicate when turning is another annoying behaviour of bad drivers. Indicators are designed to alert other vehicles and pedestrians to what a vehicle is doing or about to do. Failing to indicate means that those around you do not know what’s going on and will have to guess . Often, they guess wrong which can lead to serious accidents, as well as frustrated drivers.
Dangerous overtaking is often the outcome of many of the other undesirable behaviours – tailgating, speeding and failing to indicate - or it can be a failure to understand oncoming traffic.
Dangerous overtaking occurs if cars are travelling too close and suddenly pull out to overtake a car. Sometimes, the overtaking driver is also speeding and fails to indicate their intention to overtake.
Other dangerous overtaking happens when drivers overtake where overtaking is prohibited or fail to check the oncoming traffic and do not have enough time or space to safely overtake a vehicle. The outcome can result in fatal head-on collisions.
Hogging the right lane
In Australia, the far right lane of multi-lane roads is reserved for overtaking. Bad driving behavior involves moving into the right lane and remaining there. This clogs the flow of traffic and can lead dangerous overtaking to occur on other lanes (sometimes referred to as ‘undertaking’). Once a car has overtaken in the right hand lane, it should return to the left lane. Failing to keep left unless overtaking is an offence on designated roads.
At the traffic lights
Drivers can do several things at traffic lights that are annoying, and sometimes dangerous.
Firstly, they may fail to stop at a red light – which is unlawful and can endanger everyone on the road. Alternatively, they can speed up to try to make a green light before it changes to red, only to have to brake suddenly when the light has changed.
Alternatively, drivers who are distracted and don’t observe the changing lights can fail to accelerate when the traffic lights turn green. This means other drivers are delayed and can become frustrated – a dangerous situation.
Drivers also often fail to stop behind the designated white lines marked at traffic lights. This means that pedestrians crossing the road may have to walk around the car to safely cross the road which can put pedestrians in a dangerous position in relation to nearby traffic.
Last minute or excessive braking
Another annoying bad driver behaviour is last minute or excessive braking. Unless it is to avoid a sudden change in the road or traffic conditions, last minute braking often means the driver has not been observant. Similarly, some drivers seem to be constantly braking.
Constant braking is displayed when the car ahead seems to have its brake lights on and off almost constantly. This interrupts the flow of traffic and also alarms other drivers as they do not know what may be causing the braking. This will lead them to brake, which will mean the car behind them will start to brake. This can result is slow traffic and traffic jams for no reason.
Not understanding roundabouts
Many bad drivers do not understand how to drive safely and lawfully through a roundabout. The main thing to remember is to treat the roundabout as you would any intersection. That is, indicate right if turning right, indicate left if turning left and, if going straight ahead, there is no need to indicate. It is an offence to fail to give way to vehicles already on the roundabout when entering a roundabout.
If the roundabout has multiple lanes, follow the road markings to ensure you are able to turn for the lane you are entering. If you are unsure of the road rules for roundabouts in your state, or one you are visiting, check with the local traffic authority.