It doesn’t take much for bad drivers to drive us crazy and if you drove today, chances are you’ve witnessed it, experienced it or are guilty of causing it. Here are the top 10 road rage-causing drivers – can you relate?
Holiday season is unforgivably winding up and that means the odds for road rage will gradually increase as more drivers are commuting to and from work. There’s nothing pretty about road rage, and traffic congestion coupled with bad drivers equals a stressful start to the day even before you step foot into work! Interestingly, in the NRMA BusinessWise Congestion Survey, we found more than half of small businesses in NSW and ACT say traffic congestion is contributing to employee stress, with almost one in 10 saying it’s responsible for staff sick days.
Researchers from Sweden even found couples where one partner commutes for 45 minutes or more were more likely to end in divorce.
So, to help you stay safe on the road here are the 10 types of drivers who I believe cause road rage.
10. Drivers who don’t give a ‘thank you’ wave
We’ve all been in this situation, follow it with me: you’re driving (safely) along and the lane beside you is ending, forcing cars to merge into yours. Because you’ve been stuck in the same lane for what seems an eternity, you think ‘well, another car won’t make too much of a difference, come on in’.
You give them the inviting nod and they merge in front. You look ahead anticipating a friendly wave of the hand to meet your generosity but you get nothing. You wait a further few seconds with hope but you get zilch. ‘What the …?!’ Cue road rage.
A simple wave of your hand to say thanks goes a long way on the road, yet drivers refuse to do it. Not sure why, but it happens so often. Next time a driver generously lets you in front, do the right thing and give them a friendly thank you wave – they’ve helped you change lanes safely, so it’s the least you can do.
9. People slamming brakes unnecessarily
Nothing makes your more awake – or enraged – when you suddenly slam your breaks because the person in front unnecessarily stops. It’s common for this to happen at the first sign of a yellow light. Sure, you shouldn’t speed through a yellow light but suddenly planting your foot on the brakes isn’t the safest way to handle the situation, either. In Section 57 of the NSW Road Rules, a driver approaching or at a yellow traffic light must stop if there is a stop line at or near the traffic lights or as near as practicable to but before reaching the stop line.
To avoid this road-rage cause, remember to check the rear-view mirror every few seconds because if someone is following close behind there’ll be a risk of being rear-ended if you suddenly stop. Be aware of other motorists on the road before suddenly braking.
8. Merging onto freeways/motorways without indicating
Motorways and freeways are commonly used by commuters to get to work and, considering the higher-than-average speed limits, it would be expected that drivers merging into such fast-paced traffic would indicate their merging motive. Well…no, not so much, and so this makes number three on the list.
It’s no surprise that many other drivers feel the same way. Interestingly, an overwhelming 41 per cent of survey respondents in our BusinessWise pulse-rate 3D roadside stress test grieved that a car trying to merge in front without indicating or any warning was one of the top 10 most stressful experiences. I can see why.
Be a responsible driver and check mirrors and speed up or slowdown in order to avoid disrupting the traffic flow. Also indicate at intersections and roundabouts so other drivers know what you are doing – they are not mind-readers.
7. Driving at erratic speed – stopping, starting and slowing down all in a few seconds.
So, you’re driving along, singing the wrong words to the song and not caring because you’re alone…(or is that just me?) and the driver in front slows down unexpectedly and then speeds up and then slows down. I first think the car is something out of Stephen King’s Christine horror novel, but then I realise the driver is looking for an address or just lost.
Look, we’ve all been there but it’s worth remembering that you’re not the only vehicle on the road – to prevent accidents it’s best to maintain a healthy speed limit to match the other cars on the road. If lost, pull-over in a safe place – it’s safe for you, your passengers and others on the road.
6. Slow drivers in right-hand lane in motorways and freeways
Section 125 of the Road Rules states that a driver must not unreasonably obstruct the path of another driver or a pedestrian. This obstruction doesn’t occur merely by the fact a driver is stopped in traffic or driving more slowly than other vehicles, but it does occur if the driver is driving ‘abnormally slowly’ in the circumstances. (An example of a driver driving ‘abnormally slowly’ is a driver driving at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour on a length of road to which a speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour applies, when there is no reason for the driver to drive at that speed on the length of road).
‘Keep left unless overtaking’ – we’ve all seen the sign, yet drivers on freeways/motorways stick to the right lane without the intention of ever overtaking. This frustrates many especially because it’s a NSW road rule: ‘Because traffic travels at high speed on motorways and freeways, you must be especially alert.
- Do not stop on a motorway or freeway, except in an emergency. If you must stop, move off the roadway completely
- Do not make a ‘U’ turn or reverse on a motorway or freeway
- Keep to the left, unless overtaking’
See here for more information: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/usingroads/internationalinterstate/driving.html
NRMA’s Courtesy Driver campaign survey also found motorists in NSW and the ACT placed slow drivers hogging the right hand lane (36%) as one of the biggest bug bears for drivers.
Overtaking can be risky business so it’s worth reading this guide on How to overtake safely http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/geared/your_driving_skills/driving_skills/getting_past_it.html provided by the RMS.
5. Not letting a driver into your lane
We’ve all heard the saying ‘the road is there to share’, yet there are times when drivers forget what that means. Changing lanes isn’t easy and it only gets worse when a driver sees you – with your indictor flashing – but speeds up, not allowing you room to change lanes. It’s a greater gripe when you’re in a lane that ends and so you have to change lanes.
It’s frustrating and dangerous, so be courteous on the road and allow a driver to safely merge into your lane – you never know, you might even get a thank you wave in return.
4. A driver intentionally cutting in front of you
This is a road rage no-brainer. You’re driving at a healthy speed, minding your own business when a driver out of nowhere cuts right in front of you. Needless to say this is not only frustrating but highly dangerous.
NRMA’s Courtesy Driver campaign survey found more than half (51%) of the respondents had another driver intentionally cut in front of them. Unfortunately, many drivers have experienced this and so it’s no surprise why this has made the list.
Be mindful of other drivers not only for their safety but for your own. Remember to drive to the speed limit and to keep a healthy distance between you and the car in front.
3. Distracted drivers – texting and driving
It’s widely publicised that using mobile phone while driving is a no-no, yet it still prevalent on our roads. It’s a familiar scene: driving behind someone who is erratically driving and then successfully (and safely) overtaking them to find them on their phone.
That is not a LOL matter. You’re four times more likely to have a crash when you hold and use your phone while driving. The Centre for Road Safety research also found that in the past five years mobile phone contributed to at least 216 crashes, 100 of which resulted in someone being killed or injured.
Do the right thing and ‘get your hands off it’ – you’ll get another chance to call/text but you only get once chance to live.
Argh – just writing the word makes my blood boil. Nothing is more infuriating – or dangerous – than someone tailgating you. Wait, it gets worse if they do it with high-beams on. And I’m not alone on this being my top driver gripe.
Tailgaters have been branded as the biggest aggravators on our roads according to the NRMA’s inaugural Courtesy Driver campaign. The survey found that NSW and ACT motorists (42%) believe tailgating is the biggest pet peeve on the roads. The survey also found 69 per cent have been tailgated.
Tailgating won’t get you to the destination faster nor is it beneficial for everyone else on the road, including yourself. So, please, do us all safe drivers a favour and leave your tailgating to dogem cars –it’s where those types of childish games belong.
I’ve listed nine here and I’m leaving the top one to you. Let me know your thoughts on the driving behaviour that drives you crazy on roads – comment below or on our Facebook or Twitter communities using #safedriving.