There’s no such thing as a perfect driver. Despite how highly you regard your driving skills, it is likely you’ve picked up some traits that your fellow road users find utterly infuriating since passing your driving test.
From fiddling with your phone in slow-moving traffic to clogging up the middle lane, motorists rarely realise how much they annoy other drivers.
But now, a survey of more than 20,055 motorists, conducted by the AA, has outlined Brits’ most significant motoring pet hates.
6. Litter and speed
In joint sixth place, with three per cent of the vote each, were littering, speeding and driving slowly.
Littering is annoying at the best of times but it’s all the more disgusting when rubbish is nonchalantly hurled from a moving car because that trash – no matter how tiny – instantly becomes a distraction to other drivers, who may swerve if they’re unsure whether it could damage their vehicle, potentially causing an accident.
It’s kind of ironic how people are annoyed in equal measure by those driving too fast and those who refuse to put their foot down.
With seven per cent of the vote was overtaking on the inside.
Some argue that if you can be undertaken then you’re probably in the wrong lane, but that doesn’t justify the dangers associated with overtaking on the inside.
Most drivers are reasonable enough to shift over if you want to overtake and very often, a simple flash of the headlights is enough to get your point across without compromising anyone’s safety.
4. Hasty exits
Cutting across several motorway lanes – or ‘swooping’ – was the biggest pet hate for a tenth of the survey sample.
Whether it be an innocent error to take a motorway exit or a rude bid to get into the fast lane, swooping is irresponsible and can be distressing for other drivers who presume you’re reckless and idiotic behind the wheel.
3. Middle lane hogging
Attracting 23 per cent of the vote were middle lane dawdlers – those motorists who don’t have a care in the world and are on their own planet, happily plodding along in the central lane.
These are often the people who get irate when they’re undertaken, when they’re actually the cause of the problem.
Life tip: if you’re not overtaking, move over to the left.
Laws forbidding mobile phone use whilst driving have been in place for years and even after fines were bumped up recently, motorists still can’t resist messing about on their phone behind the wheel.
‘Talking on a mobile’ was the most annoying driver habit for a quarter of respondents and there’s plenty of evidence outlining why it’s so irresponsible.
Research shows you are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone, while texting and driving doubles reaction times compared to those who drink drive.
The number of drivers who admit to using a handheld mobile phone has risen in recent years too, jumping from eight per cent in 2014 to 31 per cent in 2016, according to the RAC.
Similarly, the number of drivers sending a text, email or posting on social media has leapt from seven per cent to 19 per cent over the same two-year period.
And the number one motoring pet hate in 2017 is… tailgating.
There really is no excusing this behaviour. It’s aggressive, distressing the driver on the receiving end, and is insanely dangerous, with the slightest brake of the car in front potentially causing a multi-vehicle pile-up.
It comes back to the middle lane thing from earlier. If you urgently need to get past, just a simple flash is usually enough to get your point across; don’t start trying to ram them out the way!
The AA’s public affairs officer Jack Cousens believes that many motorists reckon these problems won’t be addressed because a lack of police presence on UK roads means the perpetrators feel they won’t be punished.
“Drivers across the country are so fed up that they feel more police officers are needed to help control the situation,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, the number of specialist traffic officers has been cut since 2005, which has meant the new police powers introduced three-and-a-half years ago have had limited impact.
“Getting frustrated by the selfish, inconsiderate behaviour of others could cause you to make a mistake. Try to stay calm and focus on your own driving.”
He added that a larger and more visible police presence on UK highways will encourage greater compliance with the rules of the road and improve road safety.
“It will also send a signal to those who frequently abuse the road that their chances of being caught have been increased. At present, it seems that offenders simply feel they can get away with it on a daily basis,” concluded Mr Cousens.