Your top 10 irritations on the road

The things drivers do that wind you up most

A LITTLE while ago we ran a piece asking whether the police focus on the wrong driving offences and the feedback we got suggests we struck a chord.

At the time we promised that with enough responses we’d come up with a list of your top on-road irritations, and you gave us more than enough to go on.

So here it is, the things that make you see red…

10. Speeding

Funnily enough, there wasn’t a huge outcry about outright speed of the sort that a ‘safety’ camera might be able to detect, but speeding did make an appearance among your annoyances, particularly when it was in built-up areas. As commenter talkToTheHat explained: “I do not appreciate speeding through housing estates at all. If people want to throw cars into ditches on that nice stretch of back road, build a deeper ditch and celebrate that they are gone from the gene pool rather than taxing it with the video van.”

9. Dope smokers

Drink-driving has long since been tarred with the brush of social unacceptability but it seems that there are people who are happy to smoke weed and drive, even doing both at the same time. As commenter (we won’t say ‘user’ here, as it might be misconstrued) tramp said: “The other one getting really common is the smell of dope wafting out the drivers window. Christ, I can smell it 5 friggin cars back, but again no law enforcement seems remotely interested.”

8. Middle lane hogs

It’s one of the oldest chestnuts out there, but the problem of middle lane hogs just never seems to go away or become any less annoying. The sheer laziness of staying in the middle of a three-lane motorway, even when the left hand lane is clear for miles, is always sure to offend. User Spaniard said: “I was approaching one numbskull the other day, and I was in the left hand(slow)lane. He was doing about 55-60. I had to go two lanes to overtake and loads of cars were coming up from behind. I flashed him as I was stuck behind him and cars overtaking us. NO ONE was on the slow lane. He refused to move. I eventually overtook him. He then speeded up, and eventually overtook me, then the f****r slowed down. It all started again. That is, above all else, very dangerous.”

7. Failure to indicate

One of the cornerstones of our original piece, failure to use the indicators was also an area that annoyed a few of you. As BigBol said: “The no indicator at a roundabout is annoying but fairly harmless in itself but it makes you wonder just how much they see about them.” Meanwhile talkToTheHat suggested a solution, saying: “Inability to indicate or use mirrors before changing lanes: driver requires corrective and frequent taxation and retraining until the message is received.”

6. Obstructing filtering bikes

No so much a bad habit so much as a dangerous, antisocial action specifically targeting motorcycles. We’ve all experienced it, but perhaps surprisingly it only got mentioned once, by commenter Drenched. As he put it: “The other one is deliberate obstruction when filtering, why on earth do people do it? I'm not endangering them, I'm not slowing down their progress.. gah.”

5. Tailgaters

Always a firm favourite with bad driving aficionados, tailgating is enough to wind up even the most placid of souls. Fortunately it’s usually easy enough to get away from the worst offenders when you’re on a bike – putting a few more cars between yourself and the tailgater – but even so, the sheer unnecessary danger it creates is understandably annoying. BigBol links the problem with the safety net of ABS, saying “I know my boss relies on his ABS to protect him as he drives too close and too fast” while Drenched said: “My personal bugbear is driving too close to me. Single carriageway, double white lines, artic doing 40mph in front, and some cock holster in a Mondeo driving 4ft from my back tire...” And talkToTheHat agreed, saying: “If you're that close to my back wheel can you even see my brake light? Most infuriating and dangerous offenders are those that appear to cruise at 45 everywhere, or harrass you through a set of junctions where there is no option to go faster due to vehicles in front, and then disappear backwards into nowhere as soon as one can speed up.”

4. Changing lanes without looking

Mirrors, like indicators, appear to be one of those things that are a mystery to a whole swathe of drivers, and it’s never worse than when the decide to change lanes without using them. This is one time that the indicator often does get used, as the same drivers seem to  think that flashing light has magical properties that will remove any vehicle that’s already occupying their intended lane. Reader craig_oz_land said: “I have had two women think it was ok to change lanes on me because they used their indicators. That's right they believed it was my job to get out of the way when they were changing lanes. One women was entering a motorway with no vehicles in front of her and no reason to be in the overtaking lane.”

3. Sat-navs or phones stuck to windscreens

When the first cars were designed, the man in charge of the windscreen development thought long and hard about the material he should make it from. He settled on the idea that glass was probably the right thing for the job, what with it being see-through and all, which gave it a definite advantage over things like wood, metal or brick. However, in their wisdom, many car users today seem to be of the opinion that the whole ‘seeing through the windsceen’ thing is overrated, although they appreciate its smoothness as it’s good for those little sucker pads used to hold phones, sat-navs and various other gadgets before their eyes. Reader speedfreak9t9 said: “Don't get me started on sat navs and mobile phones stuck all over windscreens. I've seen a woman driving along who had the sat nav directly in front of her face! She had to look round it to see the road. I mentioned this to her at a set of lights and she replied "I don't know where I'm going, so I don't need to look at the road" - true.”

2. Drivers on the phone

Yes it’s been illegal for ages now, but you don’t have to be on the road for more than a few minutes before you can be sure you’ll see a driver brazenly chatting away on his hand-held, and it’s just as infuriating as it’s ever been. Loads of you mentioned it, and of course we’re in full agreement; if drivers find the technology of ‘mirrors’ and ‘indicators’ too hard to cope with, then surely they’re not qualified to drive one-handed while holding a phone to their ear and talk about sales targets/what’s for dinner/their plans for a massive night out/how well little Timmy did in his exams or anything else for that matter. 

1. Texting

If drivers talking on the phone are annoying and dangerous, then those who are texting while driving are taking the whole thing to a new level. Hell, at least while talking on the phone you’re still able to have one hand on the wheel and both eyes on the road, texting steps it up a notch by a)taking longer to do, b)taking your eyes off the road and c)quite possibly needing two hands. Weirdly, it seems that the problem may even be on the rise, since drivers can text relatedly surreptitiously with their phones on their laps. Of course, it’s not just SMS messages these days either, but web surfing, FaceBook updating, Tweeting and any other web-connected distraction you can think of. Some suggested phone signal blockers built into cars, but in reality a serious campaign to put texting etc into the same light as drink driving – where it really should be – is probably the best solution here, with massive penalties and serious media coverage to make it as socially unacceptable as the level of risk it creates warrants.

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