Maybe George Carlin said it best when he made this observation about the driving environment. “Have you ever noticed how everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac while all other drivers or morons?” While it is human nature to use our own behavior as a basis for comparison to everyone else, some people’s habits will qualify them as a bad driver in anyone’s book.
At the end of the day, bad driving should not be taken lightly. Irresponsible and careless drivers make the roads dangerous for all of us. Every driver should be doing their best, but until they do, how should the rest of his drive? To keep yourself safe you have to watch for, and safely react to, those careless drivers around you. But what kinds of things should you be looking for?
The Twitterverse Speaks Out about the Bad Driver
Recently, a question about the telltale signs of bad driving was thrown open on Twitter. The answers were varied and eye-opening and serve as a good set of guidelines for things to watch out for.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the responses. File these away in your head so you can watch out for the guy who isn’t looking out for you.
You Know Someone Is a Bad Driver When…
- They don’t turn their lights on in the rain.
- They drive at erratic speeds.
- They don’t turn on their signal until they are starting their turn.
- They drive straight in turn lanes and turn from center lanes.
- They don’t allow other drivers to merge.
- They swerve back and forth in their lane.
- They hog the left lane.
- They brake before turning.
- They drive a car that shows evidence of many “mishaps.”
- They drive too close behind you.
- They can’t stay in their lane.
- They think the left lane is the “fast” lane and not passing lane.
- They don’t use a turn signal to change lanes.
- They punch the gas at every green light.
- They are overly aggressive or overly hesitant.
- They stop their cars in crosswalks.
- They drive side-by-side with other cars, effectively blocking two lanes.
- They cross multiple lanes to exit the freeway.
- They slam on their brakes unnecessarily.
- They don’t understand right-of-way at a four-way stop.
The Attitude That Makes the Bad Driver the Worst Driver
This list is not offered to suggest that there is any driver who has never made one of these mistakes. Studies have shown that even good drivers make 2 ½ mistakes for every mile that they drive. What separates the good driver from the bad driver is the reaction to the mistake. The good driver will correct and endeavor to change the bad habit. The bad driver will immediately look to others as the cause of the problem. After being honked at for crossing multiple lanes to exit, they will blame the other guy for not being courteous. When people honk and slam on their brakes behind them because they were too hesitant to turn left, it’s because the cars in the oncoming lane were driving too fast.
To keep the roads safer everyone, everyone must do their best. After all, until every car is driving itself, we’re all we’ve got.