By Monica Ruechel
Here in the great city of Atlanta, we LOVE to complain about how AWFUL everyone is at driving. Atlanta drivers don’t know how to drive, they drive too fast, they’re too reckless—the list goes on and on! Believe it or not ATLiens, EVERY city across the country likes to complain about how bad their drivers are. Each state has an entire list of awful habits their drivers have. I looked at at 25 different lists of terrible driving habits to develop my OWN list of the top 10 worst driving habits people have ranked in order from bad to worse. I’m sure many of you will be able to understand how annoying each of these habits are, but how many of you will be able to admit to doing them?
- Hogging Middle Lane
This is exactly what it sounds like—this is when a driver gets in the middle lane of a highway and just stays there. So why is this an issue? Well, remember in your last defensive driving class where the instructor told you that the middle lane is the “sweet spot” for traveling on highways because that’s the lane for going the speed limit? That’s entirely true! But because you’re traveling in the middle lane going exactly the speed limit, you’re irritating drivers who want to go faster than the speed limit. This causes them to zigzag past you trying to rush to where they want to go. This increases the occurrences of tailgating and road rage. It’s so bad in England that they now have fines of the equivalent of $160 US dollars in place to prevent people from middle lane hogging! So yes, staying in the middle lane helps get you where you want to go in the quickest manner possible. However, it’s annoying to most drivers, who all enjoy traveling faster than the speed on those posted signs. Maybe the US needs to follow the example of the UK and put some fines in place to keep this under control!
- Parking Incorrectly
This is also exactly what it sounds like. This is when a driver seems to be unable to grasp the concept of parking, ranging from parking over two parking spaces to parking in a way that no one else can park around you. It doesn’t matter who you are, when you can’t park in a specific parking space because someone else is parked over it, it will drive you INSANE.
- Improper Merging
One thing that makes Atlanta highways notoriously awful is merging. The reason that merging is so terrible here is that no one cares that other drivers have to move, and no one knows how to do it! There are the drivers in the far-right lane that speed up when they see a car trying to merge, so drivers are unable to merge. Then, there are the drivers who have no grasp on the concept of merging. They’ll ride out the length of the merging lane and expect to glide right into the right lane. NEWS FLASH—you’re supposed to try and get into the right lane BEFORE your lane ends! If people just knew how to merge, then maybe merging in Atlanta wouldn’t be so terrible!
- Distracted Driving (Other than using your phone!)
When people think of “distracted driving,” their thoughts immediately jump to texting and driving. While this is an example of distracted driving, texting and driving has its own spot on this list. You know when you’re running late to work so you tie your tie or do your makeup while driving? Yeah, that’s distracted driving. Don’t forget those times you’ve eaten a snack while driving or lifted a drink to your lips, because that’s also distracted driving. Even glancing down for a second to turn down the AC or turn up the music is distracted driving.
I promise you that we’re ALL guilty of this. EVERYONE gets annoyed when the person in front of them waits a full 10 seconds before going at a green light because they’re busy checking themselves out in the mirror.
- Improper and Unsafe Lane Changing
Not only is “improper lane change” illegal and ticket-worthy, it’s annoying! It causes traffic as drivers dart in front of each other, forcing the drivers behind them to slow down. It causes road rage as drivers cut one another off. Then there are the drivers that just don’t have a clue as to how lane changes work by pulling in a lane ending up almost on top of another driver’s bumper. This is something else we’re all guilty of, because sometimes we just have to change lanes quickly because we forgot our exit and cut of everyone in front of us to cross 4 lanes and exit before the exit lane disappears, but that doesn’t change the fact that it drives others insane.
- Hogging Left Lane
PSA: the left lane is NOT the fast lane—it’s the passing lane. You’re only supposed to use it if you want to pass a car that’s in the right or middle lane rather than ride it for the duration of your time on the interstate. Just like when someone hogs the middle lane, hogging the left lane can incite road rage in other drivers. It causes other drivers to use the right lane as a passing lane, which is more dangerous since that lane is moving far slower. Drivers, save us all the hassle and use the “fast lane” to pass other drivers instead of your personal express lane.
- Using Phone While Driving
Remember how I said that texting while driving is its own point on this list? That would be because this irritates people more than every other form of distracted driving. EVERYONE uses their phone while driving, either to make calls, locate an address, change the music, or send a quick text or Snapchat to their friend. We’ve all been guilty of this one at some point, and are even guiltier of being angry at the driver who drifts within their lane because they need to check their most recent notification or the other driver who has to drive 10 mph below the speed limit because they have to finish sending the text they started typing at the last red light.
- Not Following the Speed Limit
If you’re like me, you hate the drivers that drive so far under the speed limit that a turtle could beat them in a race and the drivers that drive so far above the speed limit that they could take off for outer space in any minute. Yes, the speed limit is there for a reason. No, none of us ever follow the speed limit perfectly. But for the sake of other drivers who a) want to get to work on time and b) want to get to work without getting killed by a reckless driver, let’s all pay closer attention to the speed limit and try not to kill the guy who just cut you off going 20 mph over the speed limit or the other guy who’s obviously not in a hurry to get anywhere going 20 mph under the speed limit.
Tailgating: a more appropriate word for what most of us call “riding a**.” This is probably one of the most irritating things that drivers do, even though we all do it occasionally when the turtle mentioned in the previous point decides to drive a car. Not only is it annoying when someone is riding your bumper for miles, it’s dangerous too. I mean, what if someone turns rapidly in front of you and you have to slam on the brakes? The person tailgating you will end up rear-ending you immediately! The practice of tailgating is both unsafe an irritating. Rather than riding someone’s bumper because they drive too slowly, use the left-hand passing lane that we talked about earlier!
- Not Using Turn Signals Properly
The number one thing on my list of annoying driving habits would be my BIGGEST pet peeve: not using turn signals properly. I can’t stand it when people drive for miles with their turn signal on, use their turn signal when they’ve already changed lines, or just don’t use their turn signal at all. It’s not like it takes immense effort to use a turn signal! I flip the lever in less than half a second with a flick of my pinky. Just turn it on when you need to and make sure it’s turned off when you don’t need it to follow the laws and let other drivers know where you’re going. You’ll end up saving lives this way since everyone will know where you’re going and since no one will want to kill you for not using your blinker.
So there you have it! These are the top 10 most annoying driving habits as determined by 1 ACT Driving Schools. Remember that most of these things are ticket-worthy and will add points to your driver’s license, so if you want to eliminate those points or potentially reduce your ticket fines, sign up for a defensive driving class with us here! We would love to have you.
Which of the 10 most annoying driving habits are YOU most guilty of? Answer in the poll to the right, and see how your habits compare to others'!