Our roads may seem quiet most of the time but the roads around towns get very busy during peak hours. If you’re new to driving or just want to be safe, here are ten bad driving habits to avoid.
Whether you want to stay safe while on the road or avoid irritating other road users, there are a number of habits we all need to avoid. Our roads may be quiet most of the time but the roads around towns tend to get busy, especially in the summer. Plus, if you intend on driving around Europe or elsewhere, these are habits you definitely don’t want to display!
Some of these may seem obvious but you would be amazed at how many drivers either don’t know or don’t care about these bad habits.
1. Don’t drive without wearing your seatbelt
Seatbelts are mandatory in most countries now and for a good reason. From the moment you take your first driving lesson until the moment you hang up your car keys for good, a seatbelt should always be used by you and all your passengers.
2. Don’t use your phone while driving
Not only is distracted driving dangerous, it also annoys other road users. New cars have phone integration and most newer phones have hands-free. There is no reason not to use either of these technologies or just wait until your journey is finished before returning the call.
3. Don’t drive while under the influence
It doesn’t matter whether it’s alcohol, drugs, medication, tiredness, anger or something else, influence is impairment. It will slow reaction times, impair judgement and affect how you drive. Avoid it wherever possible.
4. Don’t drive too fast or too slow
Speed limits are there for a reason. They are a practical limitation of how fast you can safely travel on a specific road. Exceeding the speed limit is not only illegal, it’s also frowned upon by other drivers in many countries. As is driving too slowly. Always drive at a speed appropriate to the road and the conditions.
5. Don’t be aggressive
Aggressive driving is one of the worst driving habits of all. It helps nobody, achieves nothing and can put lives at risk. Don’t bully slower vehicles, don’t tailgate, gesticulate or swear. Aggressive driving rarely has a good outcome and there is always someone bigger, stronger and more aggressive than you around. Don’t provoke them.
6. Don’t assume other road users are clairvoyant
By this we mean indicate when you need to, signal your intentions clearly and drive predictably at all times. If you don’t let other road users know what you’re doing, they will treat you as a hazard and drive accordingly. To be safe, you need to advertise your intentions.
7. Don’t assume you know what someone else will do
As well as expecting other people to magically know what you’re about to do, don’t assume you can do the same. You just don’t know what people are capable of and some will surprise you no matter how much you prepare. Watch them and act accordingly but never assume you know what’s coming next.
8. Don’t neglect car maintenance
‘Look after your equipment and your equipment will look after you.’ Make sure your vehicle is safe to be on the road, that your turn signals and lights all work, your tyres are safe and that your car is in a good state of repair. There’s nothing worse than breaking down in the middle of the island with spotty mobile phone signal!
9. Don’t be unsociable
In this context, being unsociable means playing music too loud, using your horn inappropriately, revving your engine unnecessarily or spinning your tyres. It all makes noise but more importantly, it all makes you look like an idiot.
10. Don’t get distracted
We mentioned distractions earlier with phones but there are plenty more to avoid. Things like eating, drinking, changing a t-shirt and doing makeup all take your attention from the road. It will end in tears.